The cost of food like products The most common obstacle to a healthy diet for people with low or no income who receive federal nutrition benefits, according to a 2018 USDA study. Results show that just $10 and 10 pounds of produce per week can lead to significant improvements in nutrition. Significance in children’s diet Latest study Led by Dell Medical School health worker.
Devin Istre, a single mother living in Austin, was part of the study, which he funded The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. She watched her two children, ages 12 and 13, try squash, walnuts, zucchini, kale, and dragon fruit — all for the first time. Esther reports that the turnip has not been successful. “But at least they tried them,” she says with a laugh.
The Factor Health study aimed to assess the nutritional impact of giving families free tastings of the products — and gift cards to buy whatever they wanted at the grocery store. Every week for four weeks, caregivers enroll in a curbside program they run Boys and Girls Clubs in the Austin area They got 10-pound cans of fruits and vegetables and $10 to use at local stores.
The results were surprising: Not only did the participating children eat healthy food two more times a day, compared to a control group, but the change persisted after the program ended.
“Our research team observed an increase in children’s consumption of the products – and most importantly, healthy eating was maintained during the four-week follow-up period after the program,” Manender “Mini” KahlonPh.D., director and founder of Factor Health, founded in 2019 with a founding grant from the Houston Center Episcopal Health Institution. “This is particularly noteworthy given that caregivers are not required to use their gift cards to purchase healthy food.”
Proof of payers
The Factor Health team tests and measures preventative and nonclinical treatments as a way to encourage fee-payers — health plan providers, Medicaid and Medicare, for example — to cover them, often partnering with community organizations. The Austin study was one of several Factor Health studies being conducted in Texas to explore how improving access to healthy food can affect health.
The obvious question: Don’t we already know that diet can improve health? Yes, says Kahlon – but it’s not quite that simple. The majority of health plans in the United States are sponsored by the employerand the Average number of years workers stay with the employer Only four. Thus, long-term health-improving measures can be hard to sell—literally. “If you’re proposing a five-year project to someone whose business cycle is less than two years, even if it’s intellectually brilliant, it’s not talking about the end result.” Plus, changing someone’s diet is a virtuous cycle, says Kahlon. “Eating better to improve your chronic kidney disease also likely lowers your chances of having a heart attack, for example, whereas treatments like medication almost always come with negative side effects.”
Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment in Houston
That brings us to Houston, where Factor Health is partnering with the county’s Harris Health System to encourage people with early-to-mid-stage chronic kidney disease to start a productive diet.
Esperanza “Hope” Galvan, Ph.D., is interim senior vice president at Harris Health, where dialysis is an costly solution for more than 5,000 patients treating both end- and end-stage kidney disease. As a healthcare system, we are well aware of the importance of healthy and balanced meals to prevent and develop diseases. We also know that access to healthy foods is a challenge for some of our patients.” “Partnering with Factor Health helps us understand the nutritional needs of our patients to slow the progression of CKD – and how to best meet these nutritional needs.
“Prevention is the name of the game.”
Gestational diabetes treatment in the Rio Grande Valley
In the Rio Grande Valley, which straddles the tip of Texas on its border with Mexico, about 15% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes, well above the national average of 9%. There, Driscoll Health Plan, another safety net provider, is partnering with Factor Health to provide nutritional support to pregnant women at high risk of contracting the disease.
Carl Serau is chief medical officer of Driscoll Health. He says the collaboration has accelerated the food-based intervention at Driscoll Health — and brought academic rigor to planning and evaluation that will be critical to understanding how well it works. He says it’s a high-risk experiment. “We basically care about more than one person when we take care of a pregnant mother, right? We take care of the present and the future.”
Back in Austin, Istre, a single mother, focuses on a more everyday concern: just feeding her children. “Low income… being able to try things without spending the extra money helps — but it also helps put food on the table.” As you say, Kahlon noticed it.