Good nutrition is a cornerstone of health and wellness.
Insufficient access to healthy food contributes to increased risk of diet-sensitive chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, and creates barriers to those trying to effectively manage their condition once diagnosed. Food insecurity and poor nutrition cause harmful outcomes in all stages of life, including poor physical, emotional and developmental outcomes.
Food insecurity is costing the health of our community.
4 in 10 food bank clients describe their health as just ‘fair’ or ‘poor’. In one of the most expensive regions of the country, rent eats first. Community members experiencing food insecurity employ extreme coping strategies, making impossible choices between food and other critical needs, including medicine.
We are committed to be a partner in health for the households we serve.
We believe prevention is one critical path by which we can support health in the households of our clients. By participating in formal research initiatives, we are able to contribute to the evidence base on effective intervention models, and test the feasibility of innovative models of service. Through closer collaboration with healthcare, we can do even more to improve well-being.
We believe the Food Bank can help move the needle on community health outcomes.
Our nutrition program guides our work – including our food purchases – to increase access to healthy foods and combat diet-sensitive illness through a variety of cooking and nutrition education programs. We have one of the most progressive nutrition policies in the nation, and over half the food we provide to our community is fresh produce. Our nutrition team worked with a California State East Bay Professor to help modify our educational programming and resources to be culturally relevant and empowering.
We recently worked with All-In Alameda County and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Department of Community Health and Engagement to co-author Rooting Food as Medicine in Healthcare, a toolkit intended for primary care practitioners and other healthcare settings in addressing the prevention and management of diet-sensitive disease within the context of food insecurity.
At the conclusion of our Diabetes Prevention Pilot, we surveyed all participants whether they would recommend the program to a friend or family member who had prediabetes. 99% of participants responded affirmatively, and shared the following feedback:
“Continue the prevention work. I am glad you are doing this for the community, and I hope this project continues.”
“The boxes were very helpful and had great variety. It helped me diversify my grains compared to only eating rice and bread. I got to try couscous and quinoa.”
“Thank you for doing this work. It helps us, and there are many in the community that need the help. I have learned a lot that I didn’t know before about eating healthy.”
“It’s a great project and it helped my family a lot. It has improved my eating habits and those of my family.”
“Share the project and extend it to more people.”