A pilot evaluation of the Food as Medicine program for patients with type 2 diabetes


Health Promotion and Physical Education

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The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the Food as Medicine Program (modified and adapted based on supporting research of the Fresh Food Farmacy™ program) that was implemented at a southeast regional hospital with voluntary participants with diabetes. It was hypothesized that participants would experience a decline in type 2 diabetes symptoms following the 12-month program of bi-monthly healthy groceries, nutritional guidance, educational sessions, and group health coaching. For this initial pilot study, four cohorts of patients were admitted consisting of 20 participants. The 12-month program included bi-monthly food pick-ups, nutritional recipes, and bi-monthly group educational and health coaching sessions for participants. They also completed pre- and post-program assessments, including a medical history questionnaire, biometric screening (HbA1c, weight, BMI, and blood pressure), and health behavior questionnaires. While there were not statistically significant differences from pre- to post-program, mean HbA1c slightly decreased from the time of the initial test (i.e., month 1) to follow-up testing (i.e., month 12). The pre- to post-program trends for diabetes self-care activities indicated improvements for general and specific diet maintenance, days of exercise per week, blood glucose testing per week, foot care, and smoking habits. Participants also exhibited a decrease in diabetes distress for emotional, physical, regimen, and interpersonal distress from pre- to post-program. This is very important as self-regulation of behaviors is necessary to successful management of diabetes. The results are discussed in relation to the limitations created by COVID-19, along with future implementation suggestions.

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Evaluation and Program Planning

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