Intersection of Hunger and Health

February marked the midpoint results of Food Lifeline’s Healthcare Initiative Pilot, a program that brings nutritious produce to low-income patients at Sea Mar’s Burien Medical Clinic, helping them better manage their type 2 diabetes. In the last six months, the evaluation has shown a .85% drop in blood sugar levels—a significant reduction that is equivalent to current drug treatments. 

We have also seen positive signs in food insecurity reductions—an 11% drop— and an improvement in client-patient's ability to worry less about having enough money to purchase food each month. These are all incredibly important indicators that the pilot is working and we’re excited to announce that we’ll be launching a second mobile health intervention at Sea Mar’s South Park Clinic this spring!

About the Healthcare Initiative:

The nation’s healthcare landscape is changing rapidly. Insurers and healthcare providers have added incentive to improve patient care at lower costs.

This new landscape offers tremendous opportunities for hunger relief organizations to partner with the healthcare industry to fight food insecurity. In partnership with Regence, Providence Health & Services, and other leaders in the field, Food Lifeline is working to find ways to better connect our food bank clients to the healthcare industry.

Consider the Scope of Problem
Many chronic-illnesses are diet related, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. All of these diseases can be prevented or mitigated by consuming a healthy diet. However, many low-income individuals have limited financial resources and lack regular access to healthy foods; similarly they also have limited access to healthcare. Food Lifeline’s Hunger in America 2014 demonstrated the depth of the problem.

Food bank clients reported health concerns:

  • 70% of households stated that they had to choose between buying food or paying for medicine or medical care at least once in the past year, with 31% reporting that they have to make this decision monthly
  • 54% of households reported having unpaid medical bills
  • 42% reported having at least one member of the household with diabetes

Better Outcomes are Possible
By better connecting health care leaders in Western Washington, we hope to have a dramatic impact on ending hunger and creating better patient outcomes. We are excited to report our continuing work on this initiative in the months to come. For more information, read the full report from Feeding America.

Our Solution is set to pilot
In partnership with Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Food Lifeline has now launched it's Healthcare Initiative pilot program! Sign up to receive updates on our pilot program and invitations to special events by subscribing to our newsletter below. 



"I am pleased to endorse Food Lifeline’s Healthcare Initiative...This collaboration to improve community health and family stability across our region is emblematic of the ingenuity that makes Washington great. I applaud the Initiative’s goal of helping people lift themselves out of difficult circumstances and stabilize their lives. Please consider what role you or your organization may have in helping the partnership grow and continuing its success." - Governor Jay Inslee

"The Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority is pleased to have provided grant funds in support of Food Lifeline’s Healthcare Initiative Pilot at Sea Mar's Burien clinic. Food Lifeline is transforming the ways in which we think about food distribution and doing so in the most community-focused and culturally aware ways possible." - Jeff Natter, Executive Director, Pacific Hospital Preservation Authority 

Today, Adolfina feels that her diabetes is fairly well controlled by the medications she's on "as far as symptoms go anyway", but she knows that if she could eat better, she would have fewer problems and feel even better. She might even be able to stop using one or more of her medications if she could manage her diet differently. - Adolfina (Patient-Client) 

Medicaid Costs Decline with Increase of SNAP Benefits

Hunger and Health is a trend that Food Lifeline has been tracking for some time now.

Hungry Teens and Mental Health

Not always having access to the food you need or only having access to poor quality food impacts your health.

New Research: The Relationship between SNAP and Health

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as Basic Food in Washington State, helps low-income individuals and families purchase food.