GardenShare

GardenShare

Thursday, October 13, 2016

COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS TO FOOD INSECURITY


Recent national and state policies have begun to incentivize the health care system to address patient hunger, collaborate across sectors, and find sustainable solutions. By knitting the medical and hunger-relief community together, these policies have the potential to help end hunger and improve health by smartly leveraging existing resources. Partnerships between food banks and medical centers have emerged in states such as Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. Some programs bring health to the food pantries — for example, by providing blood sugar checks when people come to pick up food. Others bring food and hunger screening programs to clinical sites. Correlating such programs with improved health outcomes is a growing area of research — but initial results are promising. Feeding America conducted a pre-post analysis of nearly 700 diabetic patients who were enrolled in a pilot food bank program in three states. The six-month intervention included food boxes nutritionally — tailored for diabetes, self-management education, blood sugar monitoring, and referrals to primary care physicians. Statistically significant outcomes included improved blood sugar (particularly among those with uncontrolled HbA1c at baseline), fruit and vegetable intake, self-efficacy, medication adherence, and lower rates of diabetic distress.

Source: Health Affairs, 9/20/16, Medical Aid for Food Insecurity