Hunger and Health is a trend that Food Lifeline has been tracking for some time now. Recent studies have shown that there is a clear link between not having access to healthy food and an individual’s health. Food Lifeline’s Hunger in America 2014 survey revealed that nearly half of Western Washington’s food bank client households have someone living with a chronic illness.
Hunger and Health
Not always having access to the food you need or only having access to poor quality food impacts your health. Several studies have shown that living in a household with little or no access to healthy food or where it is not clear when or where your next meal will come from increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. People don’t feel good when they are hungry—period.
A very special group of healthcare professionals met recently to begin what will be an important piece of work – solving issues at the critical Intersection of Hunger and Health. What we know now is that more meals means better health which means better outcomes. This group will be working to find strategic actions that grow a healthier community.
Cambia Grove hosted the panel discussion, and was led by our board members Chris Blanton of BridgeSpan, Suzanne Daly of Providence, Food Lifeline’s CEO Linda Nageotte, and Dr. Fathi, CEO of Coordinated Care.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as Basic Food in Washington State, helps low-income individuals and families purchase food. SNAP is the largest nutrition assistance program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. Close to 70% of SNAP participants are in families with children and more than one-quarter are in households with seniors or people with disabilities. In FY14, 1,095,551 people participated monthly in SNAP in Washington State, with an average monthly benefit of $117.71 per person.
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.
Food Lifeline’s Hunger in America 2014 survey revealed that nearly half of Western Washington’s food bank client households have someone with diabetes or high blood pressure. It should come as no surprise that not having access to food impacts an individual’s health. Hunger is associated with a