Effect of medical nutrition therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes in a low-/no-cost clinic: A propensity score-matched cohort study

Mark D. Agee, Zane Gates, Patrick M. Irwin

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Background. Although many studies have been conducted regarding the effectiveness of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for type 2 diabetes management, less is known about the effectiveness of MNT for low-income adults. This study evaluated the contribution of MNT in improving A1C and blood pressure in a population of low-income adults with type 2 diabetes. Methods. This was a population-based, propensity score-matched cohort study using provincial health data from Altoona, Blair County, Pa. Patients who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for at least 6 months before March 2014 were selected from two separate clinics that serve low-income populations. Patients who received MNT (n = 81) from a registered dietitian were compared to a matched group of patients who received primary care alone (n = 143). Outcome measures were A1C and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The follow-up period was 1 year. Results. Improvements in A1C and systolic and diastolic blood pressure were statistically significant for patients who received MNT at uniform 3-month intervals through 1 year. At the 1-year follow-up, A1C reduction was -0.8% (P <0.01), systolic blood pressure reduction was -8.2 mmHg (P <0.01), and diastolic blood pressure reduction was -4.3 mmHg (P <0.05). Conclusion. Although low-income individuals encounter a variety of barriers that reduce their capacity for success with and adherence to MNT, provision of nutrition therapy services by a registered dietitian experienced in addressing these barriers can be an effective addition to the existing medical components of type 2 diabetes care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes Spectrum
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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