Impact of a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Nutrition Intervention on Patients Living with Chronic Disease in an Underserved Community

Am J Lifestyle Med. 2021 Jun 6;16(3):382-389. doi: 10.1177/15598276211018159. eCollection 2022 May-Jun.


The current study evaluated the impact of a whole-foods, plant-based nutrition intervention on metabolic markers of patients with chronic disease in an underserved community setting. A retrospective analysis of metabolic biomarkers preintervention and postintervention was conducted on 31 patients with metabolic disease who attended an Eating for Life group visit series. Significant decreases were found for body mass index (BMI; -0.66 [-0.91 to -0.40] kg/m2), systolic blood pressure (-12 [-19 to -5] mm Hg), total cholesterol (-20 [-29 to -10] mg/dL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL; -11.6 [-17.5 to -5.5] mg/dL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL; -3.2 [-5.7 to -0.7] mg/dL, all Ps < .01). In participants with clinically abnormal preintervention data, the mean (95% CI) change significantly decreased for overweight (-0.45 [-0.85 to -0.05]) and obese (-0.76 [-1.13 to -0.39]) BMI, systolic blood pressure (-12 [-19 to -5] mm Hg), total cholesterol -22 [-40 to -4] mg/dL), and LDL (-15.6 [-23.8 to -7.4] mg/dL, all Ps ≤ .03). In conclusion, the Eating for Life model showed significant improvement in BMI, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL in a federally qualified health center population. Group visits advocating for a whole-foods, plant-based diet may be effective in reducing chronic disease burden in underserved communities.

Keywords: FQHC; low-income; metabolic syndrome; nutrition; plant-based diet; underserved.