A Food is Medicine approach to achieve nutrition security and improve health

Dariush Mozaffarian, Heidi M. Blanck, Kathryn M. Garfield, Alissa Wassung & Ruth Petersen. Nature Medicine (2022)

Suboptimal nutrition is a leading cause of illness, healthcare spending and lost productivity, predominantly from diet-related chronic diseases but also from undernutrition1,2. These burdens are not evenly distributed, contributing to health disparities affecting people who have lower income, are less educated and are members of minority ethnic groups, who more often have poor diets, hunger and related diseases.

Healthy foods across the lifespan are critical to achieve health and well-being for all, but few sustained healthcare or policy interventions have considered this as a priority. This is now beginning to change in the USA, with promising healthcare-anchored strategies to address food security emerging at local levels3, combined with mounting evidence about and attention to health burdens, costs and inequities attributable to poor diet quality. We highlight two major shifts toward addressing food and nutrition within health-related sectors, which are in need of acceleration.

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