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Season Health Wants to Help People Manage Chronic Diseases With Nutrition | by heidi


 


In the United States, about 37 million people have diabetes.1 Another 37 million people have kidney disease.2



A key part of managing these chronic conditions is nutrition. However, patients often don’t get the support they need to make beneficial changes to their diets.


To address the gap, a new online platform called Season Health is working with registered dietitian-nutritionists to create personalized meal plans for people managing diabetes and kidney disease. And they hope to one day be covered by insurance plans.


 What Do Nutritionists Do?


What Is Season Health?

Season Health offers support that is based on a person’s medical history and food preferences. The plans can help people manage their health through nutrition.


In addition to providing medical nutrition therapy, the platform uses Instacart and Uber Eats to help coordinate food delivery for patients.



Josh Hix, CEO and cofounder of Season Health, told Verywell that the goal of Season Health is “to have a scalable platform using food as medicine.”


The platform is currently supporting just two chronic diseases—diabetes and kidney disease—but Hix hopes to expand to support other chronic illnesses as well.

 How to Eat If You're Prediabetic

How the Program Works

When a person is diagnosed with diabetes or kidney disease, they are often referred to a registered dietitian. They may prescribe a patient a meal plan or make specific nutrition recommendations for managing a condition.



If a patient would benefit from additional support, Hix said a provider could then prescribe the Season platform. Think of it as an “easy button” for healthcare providers who need personalized meal plans for patients and more support that is not being provided in the medical community.



Who Can Join Season Health?

As of March 2022, Season Health is available to adults (age 18 and older) in several states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.


The program also has several “anchor partnerships” with healthcare systems in the U.S.


How to Sign Up

After the program is prescribed, a patient can get started with Season Health by:



Registering for the Season Health platform

Noting their food preferences, health history, and other relevant medical information

Having a 1-hour consultation with a registered dietitian to establish a customized nutrition plan

Once all these steps are squared away, the patient can access the Season Health app.


How Much Does It Cost?

Season Health charges patients $75 per month as a subscription fee, which includes:


Access to a dedicated registered dietitian

Personalized meal recommendations

Concierge ordering (which takes the guesswork out of grocery shopping or ordering from restaurants, take-out, and meal delivery services)

Season Health is hoping to work with insurance providers to potentially get the cost of the program covered.


When insurance programs offer financial support, it also addresses other health-related budget constraints—like those that prevent people from affording medications and paying medical bills.


Some “food as medicine” interventions also provide education on nutrition topics like portion size and ingredient selection. This information can help people follow more healthful diets even after the program ends.


 Following the DASH Diet If You Have Kidney Disease

Does the Program Work?

Hix said that people have anecdotally reported improvements in their health conditions since joining Season Health. The next task is gathering clinical research evidence to support those claims.


According to Hix, a clinical trial is launching to look at the outcomes of using the program. The research wouldn’t just be helpful for providers and patients—it could also help demonstrate the value of a proactive and preventative approach to insurance carriers.


 Can a Low-Carb Diet Put Diabetes Into Remission?

Elysia Cartlidge, MAN, RD, a registered dietitian at Haute and Healthy Living, told Verywell that for people living with a chronic health condition, the hardest part is often “trying to figure out what to eat based on the recommendations.”


Nutrition research changes and sometimes, the evidence is conflicting. Making choices about what you eat can be challenging even if you don’t have a health condition to consider.


The most difficult part for many individuals is trying to figure out what to eat based on the recommendations.

— ELYSIA CARTLIDGE, MAN, RD

With Season, Cartlidge said that you “can work with a dietitian and receive meals according to your specific condition” and that the “program can eliminate so much of the overwhelm and help you make the necessary dietary changes to effectively manage your condition.”


Season isn’t the only service of its kind. Other platforms can help people navigate food choices by leaning on technology. For example, Sifter is a platform that is created by a registered dietitian that allows people to sort through grocery store offerings based on the diet they follow, allergies, preferences, and more. The program can also help modify recipes based on which ingredients are used.


Once the shopping list is created, customers can link their list to Instacart or other delivery service to have everything delivered right to their door. The program is free to use (minus the cost of food).


As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, many registered dietitian-nutritionists now offer virtual services. In many states, nutrition counseling for people with diabetes or chronic kidney disease are covered by providers, and in certain cases, conditions like obesity are covered under certain plans as well.

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