Nutrition care in the outpatient setting may be the key to disease prevention. It is hard to name a disease process that does not have a nutrition component. Diabetes, GI diseases, osteoporosis and cancer can all be treated and prevented with good nutrition. Malnutrition continues to be a problem while the incidence of overweight and obesity rises. New techniques may allow for genetic manipulations that prevent disease or nutrition therapies that positively affect genes. This has already begun. The gut microbiome has an ever-increasing importance in unlocking better health. What one eats makes a difference in health, performance, and quality of life.
Healthy eating is actually pretty complex. In fact, what is healthy eating? Healthy eating or a healthy diet might be defined consumption of a variety of foods that meet an individual’s nutrient needs. Is there one healthy diet? The U.S. Dietary Guidelines and My Plate give suggestions for including nutritious foods and understanding portion sizes [1,2]. According to U.S. News and World reports, the DASH diet comes up as “Best Overall Diet” several years in a row based on nutritional value, ease of use, and effectiveness to help manage chronic disease. Based on well-controlled human research studies dating back to the mid-1990s, there is strong evidence to support that lowering sodium and increasing potassium, calcium, and magnesium can be effective for lowering blood pressure . These nutrients are the backbone of the DASH Eating Plan which incorporates fresh, wholesome food such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, nuts and low-fat protein sources. Cindy Kleckner, RDN (Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas, Texas) coauthor DASH Diet for Dummies and Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies suggests if one wants to take charge of their health, to try the DASH difference, a powerful medicine that doesn’t come in a pill.
In the United States, a large majority of individuals do not meet their nutrient needs. Malnutrition is present in children, adults, and the elderly in many socioeconomic levels. In U.S. hospitals the prevalence of malnutrition in the hospital is 13%–88% (pediatric and adult patients), long-term care—21%–51% and outpatient or homecare—13%–30% [4