Integrating Healthy Eating and Exercise into Conventional CKD Care

In nearly two-thirds of cases of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the United States, the underlying cause is diabetes and/or hypertension. Overall, among patients with diabetes and hypertension, integration of healthy eating and increased physical exercise (healthy moving) with convention medical care is associated with improved outcomes. Even when exercising at home or at a 24 hour gym, the results are beneficial since any kind of physical activity is great for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The integration of health eating with conventional medical care for patients with CKD due to diabetes and/or hypertension may reduce adverse outcomes, according to Donald Wesson, MD, MBA, FACP, FASN, and colleagues. Individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES) are a disproportionally high risk for CKD; Medicaid is the US federal government program designed to support the health needs of those with low SES.

Dr. Wesson et al. conducted a study to determine whether there were offerings within Medicaid that could support integration of healthy eating and healthy moving with traditional medical care in the treatment of individuals with CKD and diabetes and/or hypertension. Results were reported during a poster session at SCM22 in a poster titled Payment Policy Support for Integrating Healthy Eating and Healthy Moving with Traditional Medical Care for Chronic Kidney Disease Care.

Increasingly, Medicaid is exercising regulatory options to address the health needs of the population it serves beyond provision of conventional medical care, with focus on non-medical drivers of health such as healthy eating and healthy moving. State Medicaid programs are addressing those issues via managed care products as well as other authorities. In some states, flexibility within Medicaid allows support for the provision of home delivered meals and other statewide infrastructure to support healthy eating. There are also Medicaid grants available to support incentives for beneficiaries to enroll in programs for healthy moving.

In summary, the authors said, “Medicaid provides opportunities to states to support integration of healthy eating and healthy moving with conventional medical care in the treatment of individuals with diabetes and/or hypertension associated with CKD. This integration holds promise to reduce increasing adverse outcomes in all patients with CKD and should be explored as a mechanism to reduce adverse outcomes especially in low SES populations whose health needs are supported by Medicaid.”

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