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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:
  • 18 November, 2021
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.

What is the issue for NSW?

There are many individuals in NSW living 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. Diet is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, however, can also be used as a driver and potential treatment to prevent cardiovascular disease for people with type 2 diabetes. However, there are few established and reimbursed dietary interventions that effectively enable glycaemic control to lower cardiovascular risk for type 2 diabetes patients in NSW. Individuals with type 2 diabetes from vulnerable and deprived communities have difficulty adhering to dietary recommendations due to structural barriers, for example a lack of access to affordable and healthy foods. Integrating novel ‘food is medicine’ interventions into healthcare systems have the potential to support healthier diets for patients 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 is an effective way of using diet to manage chronic heart disease.

Dr Wu and his team will conduct a randomised controlled trial to define the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a MTM program with ‘food-insecure patients’ with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes in order to reduce their cardiovascular risk and improve quality of life. The trial will enrol 186 patients 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.