With more than 29 million Americans suffering from diabetes and 86 million subject to prediabetes, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is drawing attention to the disease’s prevention and treatment.
Sonja Connor, registered dietitian nutritionist and academy president, said the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) figures released last week remind the American public how important it is to maintain a healthy diet and exercise to both prevent and manage serious diseases like diabetes.
“The CDC’s data underscore the importance of registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians, registered in preventing disease and improving the health of people with diabetes," Connor said. "It also reinforces the Academy's advocacy work to improve care for people with diabetes and prediabetes by supporting initiatives and legislation like the proposed National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act.”
This legislation, now before Congress, creates a commission comprised of diabetes experts, including registered dietitian nutritionists and other specialists who treat the complications of diabetes, according to the Academy, adding that the goal of the commission is to streamline federal investments to improve the coordination and clinical care outcomes for people with diabetes and prediabetes.
Treating the widespread disease can also have an economic impact. Diabetes and its related complications cost $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages in 2012.
Connor said by increasing patients' access to medical nutrition therapy provided by a registered dietitian nutritionist, individuals with prediabetes or those at risk for diabetes can finally receive the treatment they need, which supports the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act to help stop cases of diabetes in the Medicare population.
“We look forward to working with our nation's political leaders to ensure patients have access to effective, coordinated care for better health,” Connor said.
For more information visit, www.eatright.org.