Incorporating healthy eating and exercise into traditional chronic kidney disease care

In approximately two-thirds of chronic kidney disease (CKD) cases in the United States, the underlying cause is diabetes and/or high blood pressure. In general, among patients with diabetes and hypertension, integration of healthy eating and increased physical exercise (healthy movement) with conventional medical care is associated with improved outcomes.

Integrating healthy eating with conventional medical care for patients with chronic kidney disease due to diabetes and/or high blood pressure may reduce negative outcomes, according to the Donald Wesson, MD, MBA, FACP, FASNand colleagues. Individuals of low socioeconomic status (SES) are disproportionately at risk of developing CKD; Medicaid is the US federal government program designed to support the health needs of those with SES impairment.

Dr.. Wesson and others. conducted a study to determine whether offerings within Medicaid could support the integration of healthy eating and healthy movement with conventional medical care in the treatment of individuals with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and/or high blood pressure. The results were reported during the poster session at SCM22 in a poster titled Support payment policy to integrate healthy eating and healthy movement with conventional medical care for chronic kidney disease care.

Increasingly, Medicaid is exercising regulatory options to meet the health needs of the population it serves beyond the provision of traditional medical care, with an emphasis on non-medical drivers of health such as healthy eating and healthy movement. State Medicaid programs address these issues through managed care products as well as other authorities. In some states, flexibility within Medicaid allows subsidies to provide home meals and other statewide infrastructure to support healthy eating. There are also Medicaid grants available to support incentives for beneficiaries to enroll in health movement programs.

In summary, the authors said, “Medicaid provides opportunities for states to support the integration of healthy eating and healthy movement with conventional medical care in the treatment of individuals with diabetes and/or high blood pressure associated with chronic kidney disease. This integration holds promise for reducing increasingly negative outcomes in all patients who suffer from chronic kidney disease, and it should be explored as a mechanism to reduce negative outcomes especially in the lower SES groups whose health needs Medicaid supports.”

Source: Wesson D, Mathur V, Tangri N, Hamlett S, Bushinsky D. Push policy support for integrating healthy eating and healthy movement with conventional medical care for chronic kidney disease care. Abstract of a poster presented at the 2022 National Kidney Foundation Clinical Spring Meetings (Abstract #254), Boston, MA, April 6-10, 2022.

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