An article featuring EatSF’s founder, Dr. Hilary Seligman, was published this May in the New York Times! Dr. Seligman, along with other researchers at UCSF and Stanford, is spearheading the first rigorous evaluation of the “Food as Medicine” movement. This movement is a shift in the mindset of healthcare providers from prescribing medication to treat disease to prescribing healthy food to manage, prevent, and improve disease outcomes.
Though billions of dollars in medical costs are increasingly being spent on treating diet-related chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes, Seligman notes that the medical field, “accepts the most expensive procedures and medications without batting an eyelash. But with food, we have to prove it’s inexpensive to be accepted.”
This rigorous evaluation will take place over the next three years and assess the impact of providing 1,000 patients in California diagnosed with congestive heart failure or Type 2 diabetes with a healthier diet and nutrition education. Researchers will evaluate its impact on hospital readmissions and referrals to long-term care, comparing patient outcomes to those of Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid) patients with similar health status who do not receive the healthy food.
The evaluation of the Food as Medicine initiative has the opportunity to increase awareness of the impacts of programs like EatSF that work to increase fruit and vegetable access and consumption to prevent and fight diet-related diseases. In addition, scientific evidence showing that prescribing healthy food can save healthcare costs and have a large and long-lasting impact on the landscape of our healthcare system will further demonstrate the importance of voucher and incentive programs like EatSF. We look forward to hearing more about this study and Dr. Seligman’s work in the future!
Thank you for all the great work you do to make our communities healthier Dr. Seligman!