“Feediatrics”: Doctors Who Understand Food Preparation May Be the Secret to Reducing Healthcare Utilization and Costs

It's my own term, but I think "feediatrics" has a place in the healthcare debate as a way to address the cost side of healthcare delivery. The federal 2010 Dietary Guidelines, to be released in December, will identify obesity as the nation's greatest public health threat. Diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, sleep apnea and a host of other chronic conditions are directly related to unhealthy eating habits. Other than telling obese patients to "eat less," physicians have traditionally offered very little practical help. 

Maybe, just maybe, there is a shift happening towards a more holistic approach to health and diet. Dr. Preston Maring of the Kaiser Permanente facility in Oakland, CA is taking a leading role in merging medicine and food preparation as an avenue to healthier patients under the banner of "Eat Well. Be Well." Rather than a marketing jingle, this is a philosophy that insists doctors learn how to buy and prepare healthy food. As a first step, Dr. Maring started an organic farmer's market right outside the door of the Kaiser offices

Dr. Maring's son will soon have the distinctive title of M.D./Chef as he finishes his medical studies next year to complement his tenure working for world famous restaurateur, Thomas Keller. Glenn Beck can keep his french fries–it's a free country–as long as his doctors start helping their other overweight patients learn to buy and cook healthy meals as part of their "treatment." 

Healthy diet, healthier health system, lower costs–brought to you by your local "feediatrician".