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American Dietetic Association Announces Agenda for Health Reform
Date:2/2/2009

CHICAGO, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Dietetic Association will pursue a broad agenda in U.S. health care reform in 2009 and recommend to Congress that a primary goal of new legislation should be to improve the health of Americans.

"The health of our citizens should improve as a result of our health policy choices," said registered dietitian and ADA President Martin M. Yadrick. "Nutrition needs to rise as a national priority, as it ties directly to the causes and care for some of our most debilitating and expensive conditions.

"To achieve that goal will require us to refocus the current system and provide adequate resources so we can maintain health and wellness. It also calls for a shift toward more disease prevention, early detection, delay of disease progression and chronic disease management in a continuum of strategies," Yadrick said.

ADA and its members are engaging in health policy work, both in Washington, D.C., and in state capitals where lawmakers are considering major reforms and new roadmaps for better health.

ADA's health care reform recommendations will include options to redirect a sizable portion of the $2 trillion Americans current spend each year on health care, to preventive and interventional health promotion and care.

Nutrition and diet are associated with seven of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States, including heart disease, cancer and stroke. Diet and nutrition also are factors in other chronic conditions such as pulmonary disease, diabetes, liver disease, arteriosclerosis and kidney disease. However, many of these and other diseases are manageable if caught early, and even preventable.

"ADA's work also will focus on the role of the registered dietitian in a reformed system that helps all Americans stay healthy for as long as possible, and receive the best quality of care available. We see these as rights for every American - rights that also include access to healthy food and qualified health professionals, including registered dietitians," Yadrick said.

In preparation for a national dialogue on health care reform, ADA began work last year to identify the unique role registered dietitians play in U.S. health programs and the delivery of health care to individuals. That role extends from nutrition education, nutrition assessment, counseling, and interventions for which RDs possess and apply unique knowledge, training and skills. ADA's health-care recommendations were approved by the Association's Board of Directors in January and are available at http://www.eatright.org/ada/files/HCRTF_Report.pdf.

"ADA's report calls on Congress to fix flaws in the current system and to act now," Yadrick said.

Among specific recommendations are to expand coverage of nutrition services to areas in which medical nutrition therapy will improve health outcomes; improve coordination of care and disease management; include nutrition care provided by registered dietitians in team-based programs as well as by individual RD providers; improve and expand information technologies and include nutrition data for patients; support a sustainable and continuously funded system that patients can count on today and in the future; and reimburse providers at fair market rates.

The American Dietetic Association is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org.


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SOURCE American Dietetic Association
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