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‘Medically-Tailored Meals’ to prevent heart disease

The George Institute for Global Health & University of New South Wales

  • Cardiovascular Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant
Date Funded:
  • 1 February, 2022
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Jason Wu

Project Summary

A randomised controlled trial of Medically-Tailored Meals (MTM) to prevent heart disease for patients with type 2 diabetes.

The main researcher for this project is Dr Jason Wu.

What is the issue for NSW?

There are hundreds of thousands of individuals in New South Wales with type 2 diabetes. Those with type 2 diabetes have approximately double the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, with the elevated risk particularly evident for women. While diet is a major driver and potential treatment to prevent cardiovascular disease for people with type 2 diabetes, there are few established and reimbursed dietary interventions that effectively enable blood sugar control to lower cardiovascular risk for individuals with type 2 diabetes in New South Wales. Individuals with type 2 diabetes from the most vulnerable and deprived communities have particular difficulty adhering to dietary recommendations due to structural barriers such as access and affordability of healthy foods. Integrating novel ‘food is medicine’ interventions into healthcare systems have the potential to support healthier diets and improve health outcomes for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

What does the research aim to do and how?

MTM is a promising Food is Medicine innovation where clinicians can prescribe patients with healthy home-delivered meals. This could be an innovative and effective way of using diet to manage chronic diseases.

Dr Wu and his team will conduct a randomised controlled trial to define the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a MTM program to improve clinical management and wellbeing in individuals with type 2 diabetes with suboptimal blood sugar levels and who are experiencing food insecurity. The trial will enrol 212 individuals randomised to intervention or continued usual care. Healthy meals will be prescribed to the intervention group and delivered by our local industry supplier once a week for 6 months.