Nutrition Research

Altria Study
Assessing the Impact of Comprehensive Nutrition Care on Clinical Outcomes

In 2005, Open Hand received foundation funding from Altria to support a small pilot project which followed low-income, overweight or obese seniors living with type 2 diabetes in metropolitan Atlanta over a 6-month period.  For this population, Open Hand tracked changes in nutritional risk, health behaviors and outcomes achieved as a result of our innovative Comprehensive Nutrition Care model, which combines Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) services with meals designed to provide optimum nutritional value to positively impact diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus were provided, which incorporated evidence-based recommendations of the American Diabetes Association, American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association/ATP III and the 2005 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

Preliminary Outcomes Very Promising
Within three months, many participants reported feeling better physically and emotionally, with 3 of 22 participants reported no longer requiring oral glucose medication or decreased dosages of insulin.  At the end of the study, half of the participants had lost a total of 143 pounds, for an average loss of 17.3 pounds, and corresponding decreases in Body Mass Index (BMI) and measurements of waist circumference.  Fifty-five (55%) percent of the participants experienced lowered blood pressure measurements at study conclusion.

Collaborative Effort with Emory University School of Medicine
Encouraged by these results, a second, larger project began, collaborating with Emory University School of Medicine to measure the impact of Comprehensive Nutrition Care on the clinical outcomes and healthcare costs of Emory patients receiving meals meeting evidence-based nutrition recommendations and appropriate nutrition assessment, education and guidance services.  A randomized research study is comparing the impact of Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and these meals on glycemic control, weight, blood pressure, lipid profile, insulin sensitivity, and endothelial function versus standard clinic-based MNT services in low-income, obese, elderly African-American Grady Memorial Hospital outpatients with type 2 diabetes. 

Gauging the Impact of Comprehensive Nutrition Care on Clinical Outcomes of HIV/AIDS Clients

A second important outcomes-based study will soon begin: The Impact of ComprehensiveNutrition Care™ as a Support of Primary Care for Persons with HIV/AIDS.  In collaboration between Open Hand and the Emory University School of Medicine/Crawford/Long Infectious Disease Program, this project is intended to bridge the gap between primary healthcare providers and community-based support services to play a key role in increasing health and well-being for persons with HIV/AIDS.

UPS “Food As Medicine” Project
Measuring the medical, economic and personal value of nutrition services

Open Hand is one of five member agencies of the Association of Nutrition Services Agencies (ANSA) participating in the “Food As Medicine” project – a collaborative, two-yearnational education campaign funded by a grant from The UPS Foundation.  The primary goal of “Food As Medicine” is to advance the field of community-based nutrition services for the critically ill by educating lawmakers, policy makers, academics, and others about the medical, economic and personal value of nutrition services.  All agencies are measuring outcomes and developing a universal evaluation tool that can be used by any community-based nutrition services agency to gauge the impact they have on their clients’ well-being.