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More Than 9 in 10 Primary Care Physicians Say U.S. Health Care System Should Place Greater Emphasis on Nutrition to Manage Chronic Disease
Date:6/10/2009

Survey Conducted with American Dietetic Association Shows Lack of Reimbursement for Nutrition Services Is Key Barrier

WASHINGTON, June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ninety-six percent of primary care physicians believe the nation's health care system should place more emphasis on nutrition to treat and manage chronic disease, according to a new survey released today. However, only 12 percent believe physicians currently pay significant attention to nutrition in the context of chronic disease.

"The good news is physicians know nutrition therapy can improve health outcomes," said registered dietitian Jane V. White, PhD, LDN, RD, FADA, with the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, who partnered with the American Dietetic Association on the survey. "Now, it's time to move nutrition services to the forefront in prevention and management of chronic disease."

In the survey, nutrition services were defined as referral to a registered dietitian or recommendation of specific nutrition products.

"Nutrition is more than just eating a healthy diet; for patients with chronic disease nutrition acts as therapy to help them heal faster, respond better to medical care and control their disease," White said.

One of the biggest reasons cited for physicians' failure to address nutrition more frequently as part of chronic disease prevention and management is the lack of direct reimbursement for nutrition services. More than 80 percent of physicians surveyed said lack of reimbursement is either a major reason or the single biggest reason that providing nutrition services is not routine, including one-third who cited it as the biggest factor.

"Registered dietitians and doctors have long known the intrinsic value of nutrition services for their patients," said registered dietitian Martin Yadrick, MS, MBA, RD, FADA, imm
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SOURCE American Dietetic Association
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