Message from President on National Diabetes Month
American Dietetic Association President Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, FADA, LDN, Highlights ADA Initiatives as National Diabetes Month Comes to an End
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To all American Dietetic Association members:
As National Diabetes Month has come to a close, I wanted to share with members some of the initiatives of ADA and our members to reduce the incidence of diabetes in the United States.
- The month began with a proclamation by President Obama to increase both awareness of diabetes and efforts to reduce the incidence of the disease. The proclamation specifically addressed the need for medical nutrition therapy in treating diabetes, saying that "all new health plans and Medicare must now provide diabetes screenings free of charge to patients and Medicare covers the full cost of medical nutritional therapy to help seniors manage diabetes."
- ADA worked with members of Congress to recognize the need for registered dietitians' services and medical nutrition therapy coverage for diabetes treatment. On November 18, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D.-Ill.) said in a statement on the floor of the House of Representatives: "We must work to get medical nutrition therapy covered by Medicare for beneficiaries diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Nutrition therapy provided by registered dietitians has a proven track record of preventing diabetes through lifestyle changes that simply cannot be made without this assistance for the majority of those who suffer."
- ADA and key member groups urged Congress to pass a multi-year renewal of the Special Diabetes Program. The Special Diabetes Program (SDP) consists of the Special Diabetes Program for Type 1 Diabetes (SDP type 1) and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). These are effective programs that help prevent and manage diabetes and its complications. Action has not yet been taken by Congress.
- ADA signed on to a letter to the director of public health policy at the Office of Health Reform in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review guidelines that will screen for diabetes or pre-diabetes among patients with other risk factors, rather than limiting it to person with hypertension. As a member of the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, ADA will continue to work on this and other issues to help people with diabetes and pre-diabetes receive services they need.
- An article in the December Journal of the American Dietetic Association reviews the evidence and nutrition practice recommendations presented in ADA's Nutrition Practice Guidelines for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Adults. According to lead author Marion J. Franz, MS, RD: "The evidence is strong that medical nutrition therapy provided by RDs is an effective and essential therapy in the management of diabetes. RDs are uniquely skilled in this process."
- Molly Gee, MEd, RD, chair of the Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Group, and all DCE members continue to show leadership, through innovative solutions in research and evidence-based practice.
- ADA continued its ongoing partnership with the National Diabetes Education Program. Among many other projects and initiatives, ADA worked with NDEP to hold focus groups at the 2010 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo to obtain members’ input on the further development of NDEP education programs; and ADA recently contributed to data collection for NDEP's next strategic plan. NDEP education materials are valuable tools that are available to ADA members free or at minimal cost.
The American Dietetic Association is committed to helping people with diabetes manage their disease while helping to minimize complications through policy initiatives and nutrition interventions My thanks to all ADA members, who are doing so much to achieve this goal for the 24 million Americans with diabetes.