CVS Health proposes a new nutrition-based initiative aims to provide a new option for consumers who want to boost their overall health through better food choices. The Nutrition Coaching & Services program, which is being piloted in three Phoenix-area HealthHUB locations, provides a comprehensive approach to nutrition, focusing on therapeutic diet options tailored to personal tastes and specific chronic conditions.
“The vast majority of health issues we struggle with as a country are due to poor diet,” said Daniel Knecht, M.D., VP of Clinical Product. “So, CVS Health can play a significant part in helping people to manage chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes and heart disease by equipping them with the knowledge and ability to eat healthy and nutritious food daily.”
At the turn of the century, 30.5% of American adults were obese, meaning they had a body mass index of 30 or higher. That rate largely increased through 2015-2016, helping to fuel related health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers – all of which are among the leading causes of death in the U.S.
According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the obesity rate reached 42.4% in 2017-2018 – surpassing 40% for the first time. Although the increase was not significant between 2015-2016 and 2017-2018, the new data represents a failure to meet the federal government’s public health goals set for this year.
Obesity affects some groups more than others:
- Non-Hispanic blacks (49.6%) had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by Hispanics (44.8%), non-Hispanic whites (42.2%) and non-Hispanic Asians (17.4%).
- The prevalence of obesity was 40.0% among young adults aged 20 to 39 years, 44.8% among middle-aged adults aged 40 to 59 years, and 42.8% among adults aged 60 and older.
Poor nutrition and obesity can be the root cause of multiple chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Obesity also is a risk factor that may contribute to increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Coaching & CVS Health Nutrition-Based Initiative
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity costs the U.S. health care system roughly $150 billion a year. Unfortunately, solving for metabolic health and obesity can be complicated. Currently, communities lack a singular resource that can provide tailored nutrition guidance that’s in line with personal health needs.
In addition to providing access to nurse practitioners and pharmacists who can advise on baseline health and manage prescription medications, the Nutrition Coaching & Services program offers metabolic health blood tests, body composition measurement, and a digital app that includes remote monitoring, tracking and coaching, as well as educational content, meal plans and shopping lists.
“What resonates with consumers is that good nutrition is a natural way to manage their chronic condition. It’s a much-less invasive approach than surgery and medicines,” said Cameron Smith, Sr. Director, Chronic Care. “Our vision is to ultimately create a capability and platform for nutrition services that can be leveraged across the Enterprise.”
The Nutrition Coaching & Services program is offering a highly personalized approach, considering participants’ individual characteristics and desires, including metabolism, allergies, food preferences, lifestyle and body type. This input helps the team develop an individualized nutrition program that the participant can sustain.
“When you drill down to the current nutrition solutions in the market, they’re all similar. They are either Keto-based, plant-based, Mediterranean diet based… but we are taking a diet-agnostic approach,” Rich Wood said. “We meet people where they are. That’s what personalization is all about.”