Food As Medicine Gets One Step Closer To Reality

The Lempert Report
March 12, 2021

There's now an accredited course designed to provide training in dietary lifestyle.

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), the medical professional society that has championed food as medicine since its inception in 2004, is taking a giant step forward for consumers, medical professionals and retails as they announce the availability of the first installment of its "Food as Medicine" course, titled "Nutrition for Prevention and Longevity." The entire CME- and CE-accredited course is designed to provide the training in dietary lifestyle that evidence shows most efficacious to prevent, treat and even reverse lifestyle-related chronic disease.

"The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation identified in its 2019 Global Burden of Disease report that the leading cause of disease and death is a result of what we are, and are not, eating," said ACLM Executive Director Susan Benigas. "Yet most physicians and medical professionals receive few hours of clinical nutrition education throughout their formal training. While ACLM is committed to filling this void, according to Benigas, by soley supporting healthcare providers in their ability to prescribe food as medicine, they are missing a huge opportunity. Retail RDs, produce managers, grocery buyers and merchandisers all could benefit from these learnings. We say in our industry that food is medicine is one priority path we should follow – but without empowerment thru education – that will never happen – and it is unfair for grocers to lay the entire burden on their health & wellness officers or their retail RDs.

If in fact food as medicine is key component to changing behaviors to thwart disease than the entire grocery channel needs to understand and embrace it. ACLM's "Food as Medicine" online course will educate and equip clinicians with knowledge of dietary patterns shown to prevent, treat, and reverse diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers as well as prepare them to implement food as medicine at a practical level in patient care. The course also includes nutrition considerations for various lifecycle stages and special populations, nutrition and scope of practice, and pharmaceutical implications in food as medicine practice. The majority of the US population faces over-nutrition due to high intake of ultra-processed, calorie-dense, high saturated fat-laden foods. It’s time to change that.