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Why Nutrition Should be the Cornerstone of all Successful Interventions

Kayla Reynolds, MS

Currently, about 50% of American adults have one or more chronic condition, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease. Since 1980, the number of adults with type 2 diabetes alone has quadrupled, reaching 422 million adults worldwide. The increasing prevalence and widespread reach of these preventable health conditions is largely a result of the concurrent rise in overweight and obesity, as well as the lifestyle factors associated with weight status, including poor diet and lack of physical activity.

From diabetes prevention to hypertension management, Noom offers a variety of structured programs with human coaches that tackle pre-chronic and chronic conditions. Despite the unique symptoms and complications of each condition, lifestyle factors are attributed to  the development any of these conditions. The pioneers in chronic disease prevention and management such as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The American Heart Association, and The American Diabetes Association agree that lifestyle modification should be the first step to management and incorporated into any treatment plan.

A cornerstone of Noom’s approach to weight loss, and disease prevention and management is nutrition — guiding individuals in making healthier food choices and improving their diet. Alternative to standard care where individuals are given pamphlets or websites to visit about basic nutrition and dietary guidelines, we take a step wise approach to helping individuals change their habits, focusing on 3 important: education, skill-building, and mastery.

Education

Before being able to make a change, individuals must understand what constitutes a healthy diet. Breaking down and outlining the components of a nutritious diet is the first step. Noom does this using daily educational articles that translates difficult science into fun, digestible content to help expand users’ knowledge of basic nutrition and understand how to read nutrition facts labels. We also give users access to an extensive food database with over 300,000 items to help them know what’s in the food they’re eating and appropriate portions of different foods.

Skills-building

Education is not enough to produce behavior change. Individuals need to put their knowledge into practice in order to build habits and foster self-efficacy. This can with a “small steps” approach to helping individuals make better choices each day. Noom utilizes daily interactive challenges to help users accomplish this. For example, users are challenged to replace one less healthy snack with a fruit or vegetables or prepare a homemade lunch the night before instead of grabbing a fast food lunch on-the-go to put translate their knowledge into action.

Mastery

As users continue to practice new behaviors, Noom builds upon foundational knowledge and helps users tackle more difficult challenges they may face, including eating out at restaurants, grocery shopping, or the barriers of time or cost of food.

Throughout the process, positive behaviors are reinforced through coach commentary and real-time feedback from our unique color system, which serves as a guide to help users understand which foods they should be eating more or less of, and  improving their food choices.