Food and Nutrition

Food and nutrition are at the core of many public health concerns, from chronic disease to climate change.  In 2021, 10.4% of Americans (33.8 million people, including 9.3 million children) lived in households that experienced food insecurity, meaning they lacked access to adequate nutritious foods.  Children need a balanced diet to grow into healthy adults and long-term food insecurity can lead to serious illness, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and mental health issues.  Food insecure families also face difficult decisions like choosing between buying groceries or paying for health care.  Climate change puts our global food supply at risk as an increase in severe weather threatens agriculture.

Accessibility and affordability of nutritious food can determine a lifetime of health outcomes.  The federal government offers food safety net programs like SNAP and WIC and free school meals, but many food-insecure families are ineligible because of income level, immigration status and other factors.  Children who participate in federal programs such as SNAP and WIC have higher levels of food security into adulthood.  For those enrolled in SNAP, fruit and vegetable programs have been shown to encourage healthy eating and help with diabetes management by reducing blood glucose levels.

We encourage you to continue supporting our local food pantries with healthy food option and money for them to purchase healthy foods.