Local efforts both educate and provide for patients in need

Fruits & Veggies at the OhioHealth "Food is Health" room (10TV, Molly Brewer)

Eating healthy is something everyone can work on each day but for some, it can mean the difference between needing medication or not.

10TV learned about one program uniquely offering both the education and the tools for central Ohioans to build a healthier lifestyle.

“Eating well can be very simple,” said Dr. Laurie Hommema, program director at Riverside Family Medicine Residency.

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But some people may need a little help, Dr. Hommema explained.

“I just think in general, you know, we don’t talk enough about nutrition with our patients and really helping them understand what healthy foods are and the access to them,” she said. “There’s a lot of things marketed as healthy, which really aren’t and can be counter-productive to the patient’s management.”

That’s why OhioHealth opened the Food is Health room at their Riverside Family Practice.

There, Type 2 Diabetes or pre-diabetes patients who screen positive for food insecurity have access to free fruits, veggies, and shelf-stable items like beans and whole grain pasta for the whole family.

“It’s a great topic to work with patients who are considered pre-diabetic, whose blood sugars are high but not high enough to qualify them for the diagnosis of diabetes,” she said. “Changing your diet and what you eat can actually reverse that really significantly and patients can completely lose that diagnoses of pre-diabetes.”

Hommema also told 10TV that the program benefits more than patients alone.

“Our physicians feel more positive about the impact they’re having in patients’ lives,” she said. “And as well as their sense of their ability to help patients manage their own disease has improved. So, we have happier physicians too when they participate in the program.”

Learn more about healthy diets from OhioHealth physicians in person at the next HOOFit Walk held on Tuesday, July 9 at 9:30 a.m. at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Sign up and learn more about the event by clicking here.