The Food-As-Medicine philosophy has gained new life in the U.S. by two interrelated healthcare events.  The first is the introduction of “Shop with a Doc” programs; which puts doctors inside grocery stores to help guide consumers toward healthy food and away from bad.  The second is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which realigns the financial incentives between doctors and medical centers.

Before the ACA, a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits generally meant that a patient would become reliant upon the doctor and hospital to keep them alive.  A patient could get sick, go for care, receive treatment and a bill was generated.  Now, under the ACA, a bundled sum of money is paid for the patient’s care annually and must be managed to ensure that there funds for whatever medical need arises.  This means there are cost savings to keeping patients healthy instead of treating once they are sick.

There are different models of Shop with a Doc.  In some communities as mentioned above; hospitals sponsor medical professionals inside the supermarket.  At smaller grocery stores, the local medical center pays to replace the chips and candy displays with fresh fruits and vegetables.  Still, other medical systems host weekly farmers markets at or near their hospitals with doctors and nutritionists circulating.

The Shop With A Doc program has the potential to improve the health of entire communities by reaching consumers preemptively to demonstrate how closely related diet and health status are to one another.


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