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New App Helps Cardiac Patients Tackle Underlying Cause of Their Conditions

July 12, 2022

The Lifestyle Medicine program at Hartford HealthCare recently launched Diet ID™, the evidence-based nutrition well-being toolkit, to objectively measure and improve patient nutrition quality. The Diet ID platform will play a critical role in helping patients reverse chronic disease as part of the program’s personalized, goal-oriented approach.

One in six American adults suffers from at least one chronic disease related to lifestyle, diet in particular. The goal of Lifestyle Medicine is to reverse disease progression and reclaim optimal health by empowering people to make attainable and sustained changes.

Hartford Healthcare’s Lifestyle Medicine providers will use dietary assessment data, generated by Diet ID, to instantly uncover and understand how and what each patient eats as well as guide each patient’s health journey with targeted, customized goal setting. Then, to support progressive habit change, patients will engage in Diet ID’s Daily Actions, a weekly curriculum of simple, but effective micro-challenges and educational content that help them not only stick to, but enjoy their new eating habits.

“Diet ID is efficient and only takes a few minutes to complete, it can be repeated to track progress, and it has been validated to correlate with changes in metabolic parameters,” said Steven Borer, DO, FACC, a cardiologist at Hartford HealthCare’s Heart and Vascular Institute, under which the program operates. “It is unique in its design and, unlike many other diet programs, it is not available to individual consumers for purchase.”

Borer has a patient he has been treating for several years for blood pressure and cholesterol issues. Based on brief conversations they have had over the years regarding the man’s diet, Borer thought that his patient was fairly conscientious with his food. In order to better help the patient, he was formally evaluated in the Lifestyle Medicine program where Diet ID is used as an initial assessment of diet quality.

With Hartford HealthCare’s recent decision to partner with Diet ID, an evidence-based nutrition well-being toolkit that objectively measures a person’s nutrition quality, both doctor and patient were in for quite a surprise.

The app uses a series of pictures to help the patient identify the foods that make up their diet, providing a quick and accurate assessment of the person’s dietary patterns. For example, lots of fruits and vegetables versus lots of coffee and sweets; processed foods versus fresh. At the conclusion, Diet ID provides a score from one to 10, with one being the unhealthiest diet and 10 being the healthiest.

This patient scored a two.

“We were both shocked,” said Borer. “I told him, I thought you would’ve at least been a six. He thought so too.” But it turned out his diet was heavier on processed and fatty foods than the patient even realized.

The Lifestyle Medicine program created a personalized eating plan, and provided him with a series of challenges. Since that first score, the patient has followed the dietary guidance, lost 13 pounds in seven weeks and has had his blood pressure medications reduced. There hasn’t been new bloodwork, but Borer expects similar good news when it comes to his cholesterol.

“In lifestyle medicine, the philosophy is that 80 percent to 90 percent of what we see in chronic disease is lifestyle related,” Borer said. “High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers can all be connected to nutrition, exercise, stress and substance use, to name a few. The medical community has typically been geared towards necessary medications and procedures, but we also need to address these underlying lifestyle issues in order to best treat our patients.”

“We want to meet the patient where they are, and help them make small but attainable changes to improve those underlying causes of their conditions,” said Borer. “Diet ID is a great tool for that. Our program is still young but we hope to one day show that patients referred to our program will have better overall health with lower cost of care.”

Diet ID was created by David Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM, a lifestyle and preventive medicine expert. Katz is the founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, Past-President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Founder/President of the True Health Initiative.