FOR RELEASE NOVEMBER 11, 2015
CHICAGO - During November’s American Diabetes Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics joins advocacy communities across the country to raise awareness of the fact that diabetes rates have continued to rise over the past 10 years. To help save lives, improve health and save countless health care dollars, the Academy urges Congress to pass legislation that would provide effective and comprehensive medical nutrition therapy to Medicare beneficiaries with prediabetes.
”Nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Evelyn Crayton. “Unfortunately, there is even more reason to be concerned. In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes, which is a state of being at extremely high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. While a diagnosis of prediabetes may seem hopeless, there are proven interventions to prevent and delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.”
Senators Susan Collins (Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Congressmen Diana DeGette (Colo), Tim Ryan (Ohio) and Ed Whitfield (Ky) have introduced resolutions in both chambers of Congress to raise awareness about the prevalence of diabetes and to promote the need for additional research and preventative efforts to fight this debilitating disease.
One of the most successful diabetes interventions is medical nutrition therapy, or MNT. This effective and comprehensive treatment is an evidence-based service performed by registered dietitian nutritionists for disease management, such as delaying and even preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Numerous studies support the effectiveness of MNT, showing recipients losing weight and improving blood glucose levels.
The use of MNT as an intervention is strongly supported by research and professional organizations. Studies indicate that people who consult with registered dietitian nutritionists and diabetes educators have improved diabetes outcomes and quality of life.
“However, while Medicare covers MNT for individuals with diabetes, it does not cover MNT for individuals with prediabetes,” Crayton said. “Without this coverage, many of those with prediabetes are unable to afford services to treat and manage their disease.”
The Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act (H.R. 1686), being debated in Congress, would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive MNT coverage for prediabetes, helping millions of Americans receive the services they need and preventing a massive increase in the number of people with Type 2 diabetes.
The Academy, along with partners in the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, have asked Congress to hold a hearing on diabetes during American Diabetes Month, which would elevate interest in and visibility of diabetes legislation and allow legislation, such as the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act, to move forward and improve the detection, prevention and treatment of diabetes.
“While Congress waits, millions of Americans continue to struggle,” Crayton said. “The Academy urges Congress: Pass H.R. 1686.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.