August 18, 2016

Kaiser Permanente nutrition in the past, present and future

Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing student Frances E. Weir in the Cooking Laboratory, Kaiser Vallejo Rehabilitation Clinic, 1947

Dr. Sidney Garfield, physician founder of Kaiser Permanente, sought to create a new economy of health where providers and members turned their attention toward preventative care. Early in its history, Kaiser Permanente expressed to members and patients the importance of balanced diets and how what we consume affects our health.

In a 1965 edition of Planning for Health, a quarterly newsletter available to Kaiser Foundation Health Plan members, an article titled “The Importance of Diet” takes a look at “proper diet and related factors contributing to longer, more healthful living.” The writer asks if it is possible to prevent heart attacks by proper dieting and then answers this question, noting that eating healthier foods can minimize cardiovascular diseases.

Detail from illustrated chart of 'Desirable Weights for Men' (and women), Planning for Health, 1965
Detail from illustrated chart of “Desirable Weights for Men” (and women), Planning for Health, 1965

Today, Kaiser Permanente physicians, dietitians and others in the organization remain focused on the link between diet and health. Kaiser Permanente Dietitian Carole Bartolotto notes, So many diseases and conditions we develop are directly related to what we eat.”

Bartolotto works as a senior consultant in Southern California on a variety of projects relating to diet and heart disease. She is responsible for nutrition publications and is chair of the committee that reviews those publications. Their goal is to ensure that whatever is published is up to date and matches the most current evidence available.

Kaiser Permanente makes every effort to ensure that members can easily access accurate and helpful information to guide their nutrition and diet choices. Research articles, such as this one that explores whether consuming sugar and artificial sweeteners changes taste preferences, are part of this effort.

And, if you’re looking for healthy food recipes, Kaiser Permanente’s Food for Health blog is a great place to start!

Knowing the advantages of preventative care, let’s make healthy food choices. Our future selves will thank us.