The right place is Oldways and the right stuff is the wide variety of consumer-friendly resources Oldways has created to help everyone understand and embrace the Mediterranean Diet.  

We’ve been the nation’s leading experts on the Med Diet since 1993, when we created the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid with the Harvard School of Public Health. We have great materials, and we’re embarking on a major campaign to make sure every doctor in the country knows that Oldways can make it easy for them to tell their patients about the Med Diet.

But first, to put this in context:  here are a few facts from the American Heart Association’s 2013 Update. (Circulation.2013; 127: e6-e245 Published online before print December 12, 2012, doi: 10.1161/ CIR.0b013e31828124ad)

1.  Cardiovascular disease accounts for 1 out of every 3 deaths. While the relative rate of death attributable to Cardiovascular disease (CVD) declined by 32.7% from 1999-2009, CVD still accounted for 32.3% (787 931) of all 2 437 163 deaths, or 1 of every 3 deaths in the United States.

2.  Cardiovascular disease costs more than any other disease.  The total direct and indirect cost of CVD and stroke in the United States for 2009 is estimated to be $312.6 billion. This figure includes health expenditures (direct costs, which include the cost of physicians and other professionals, hospital services, prescribed medications, home health care, and other medical durables) and lost productivity that results from morbidity and premature mortality (indirect costs). By comparison, in 2008, the estimated cost of all cancer and benign neoplasms was $228 billion ($93 billion in direct costs, $19 billion in morbidity indirect costs, and $116 billion in mortality indirect costs).

3.  Obesity is associated with risk factor development and incidence of diabetes, CVD and other health conditions.  Obesity (body mass index ≥30 kg/m2) is associated with marked excess mortality in the US population. Even more notable is the excess morbidity associated with overweight and obesity in terms of risk factor development and incidence of diabetes mellitus, CVD end points (including coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure), and numerous other health conditions, including asthma, cancer, end-stage renal disease, degenerative joint disease, and many others.

4.  69 % of Americans are obese or overweight.  2010 data from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) show that 36% of adults are obese, and another 33% are overweight. Why? Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicate that between 1971 and 2004, average total energy consumption among US adults increased by 22% in women (from 1542 to 1886 kcal/d) and by 10% in men (from 2450 to 2693 kcal/d).

QED?  The conclusion from these four facts put forth by the American Heart Association is that there is a great need for cardiologists and other physicians to address healthy eating behaviors as part of patient treatment.  From many recent studies we know the Mediterranean Diet is the great-tasting gold standard.

So what is Oldways doing?  Oldways attended and exhibited at the Annual American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Sessions and Exhibition, which was held in Washington, DC.  We were the only food and nutrition organization that exhibited at the ACC, hidden in a back corner in the “Cardio-Smart” Pavilion.  (We did wonder – shouldn’t everything at this show be Cardio-Smart?)

Despite our eastern Siberia location we met hundreds of interested and interesting health professionals, and showed them samples of our “Med Diet 101” brochure, tear pads of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid graphic, our Med Grocery Shopping List and our 4-Week Menu Plan book.  We were excited to hear comments such as:

  • I talk about the Mediterranean Diet every day, sometimes 15 times a day.
  • I need something simple to explain the Mediterranean Diet to my patients – this brochure would be perfect.
  • Finally – this is just what I need to help my patients eat better.
  • I’ve been telling my patients to Google “Mediterranean Diet” but I’d much rather give them your attractive materials, and be sure they’re getting reliable, well-written information.

While it’s quite likely that many cardiologists, nurses and administrators at the ACC didn’t find the Oldways booth in the back of the expo hall, we are encouraged and inspired by the overwhelmingly positive response of those who did stop by. We look forward to reaching more health professionals who are on the front line of saving lives, and introducing them to our Mediterranean Diet Starter Kit. By changing eating habits and embracing the Mediterranean Diet, heart disease and deaths from heart disease can be reduced.  

This is good for individuals and families, and also for society as a whole.  


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