Guest post by Mary Litchford, PhD, RD, LDN.
Updated your clinical practice to focus on nutrition preventions? Healthcare reform is driving a shift from treating to preventing chronic conditions. The Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) published a technical report entitled Common Syndromes in Older Adults Related to Primary and Secondary Prevention that identified eight modifiable syndromes in older adults that often lead to institutionalization. Did you know that declining nutritional status is a precursor to these geriatric syndromes? While the geriatric syndromes may not be directly tied to inadequate dietary intake, these conditions may be exacerbated by suboptimal nutrient intake and involuntary weight changes.

Consider the case of Miguel. He is a 37 year old bus driver for a holiday tours company, 74 inches tall, 245 lbs, Hispanic ethnicity, recently diagnosed with prediabetes (A1c 6.5%), borderline hypertension (145/89) and dyslipidemia (Total cholesterol 220 mg/dL, LDL 135 mg/dL, HDL 35 mg/dL). His grandparents and father died before age 60 of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Miguel has “never been sick a day in his life,” but his doctor told him that his lifestyle MUST change in order to stay healthy. Miguel admits that he is getting a “big belly, but what can he do?” His job requires hours of sitting, and spending several nights each week in hotels. He eats out 15+ meals per week, usually at fast food restaurants. He was a football star in high school, but now his body composition has shifted toward more fat and less lean mass. Miguel is ready to make some changes, but he doesn’t know where to start.

Miguel’s company is offering financial incentives to employees who develop and implement a wellness plan. Is Miguel on the road to developing modifiable medical conditions?

What role might nutrition preventions play in his wellness plan? How might you work with Miguel on a Wellness Plan? Share your ideas!

Continuing Education Resource:

Common Denominators of Declining Nutritional Status – A new 14-hour CE course focusing on nutrition preventions and modifiable health conditions commonly seen in adults and elders.