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Food as Medicine Would Save Medicare Millions

Robert Greenwald and David B. Waters authored the op-ed “Prescribing Food Like Medicine Would Save Medicare Millions” on WGBH on March 12, 2014. In the continuing debate about how to control soaring healthcare costs, poor nutrition and lack of access to healthy food are routinely ignored. This is the case despite the fact that in a country as wealthy as the United States, one in three patients nationwide enters the hospital malnourished, adding a host of additional health challenges to patients’ prognoses and millions in additional health care costs. Malnourished patients are significantly more likely than well-nourished patients to be re-hospitalized and suffer poor outcomes. Malnourished patients’ medications do not work as effectively. They often remain in the hospital longer and in many cases cannot continue critical treatments such as chemotherapy because they are not getting proper nutrition.

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