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CVS Health supports better health through good nutrition

January 07, 2021 | Heart Health

An older couple working in a garden plot laughing with each other

CVS Health offers customized approach to boosting health with better food choices

A new nutrition-based CVS Health 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.”

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.

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. That’s where CVS Health comes in, as it works to integrate nutrition support into many of its clinical services and resources.

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.”

A focus on good nutrition can help people reduce weight, boost immunity, get better sleep and improve metabolic measures such as hypertension, blood sugar and inflammatory responses, according to Rich Wood, Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences, and Executive Advisor, Complex Chronic Care Transformation. Wood helped to design the program being piloted in Arizona.

“The majority of Americans are struggling with obesity, as well as heart health issues, so we know there’s a big need out there,” Wood noted, adding that consumers have indicated they want help co-managing their medications and nutrition. “CVS is already the #1 pharmacy in the country. We know people trust CVS in their lives.”

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,” Wood said. “We meet people where they are. That’s what personalization is all about.”

The program will enroll customers and engage them with a health coach. These coaches can develop a personalized nutrition plan and provide ongoing support for the customer, becoming a trusted advisor as patients progress.

Ultimately, health is not one-size-fits-all, and neither is nutrition. To improve the health care of the communities we serve, we must provide resources that allow people to receive customized nutrition advice. With the power of personalized nutrition, CVS Health can help members and customers on their path to better health.