Back to Social Determinants of Health

Food Insecurity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. According to Feeding America, food insecurity exists in every state, county, parish and congressional district across the United States. Seniors, in particular, face unique challenges that put them at risk of food insecurity, like choosing between buying food and medicine, or struggling to access food without reliable transportation.

Food insecurity affects 1 in 8 Americans
Food insecurity exists in every community we serve.

This year, we published a study with the Hunger Action Alliance in Tampa, “Food Insecurity and Health Related Quality of Life: A Cross Sectional Analysis of Older Adults in Florida, U.S.” (December 2018). The findings suggested that older adults are highly susceptible to being food insecure and that the primary care setting is an ideal place to identify their need.

In Knoxville and Kansas City, our partnership with Walgreens resulted in thousands of patients being screened for food insecurity, regardless of their health plan. Those who screened positive were provided information on local food resources and additional state and federal benefits they may qualify for.

This year, we completed a 12-month food insecurity randomized control trial in Broward County, FL, conducted with Feeding South Florida and Conviva’s Continucare and MetCare medical centers. We were testing a high-touch, clinic-based intervention that included mobile food distribution, case management and health education. Stay tuned for the results to be published.

In collaboration with Humana’s Bold Goal, Walgreens Healthcare Clinics in the Kansas City area now screen all patients for food insecurity, and then provide resources to those in need.

We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this important work. Food insecurity impacts both physical and mental health. Our nurse practitioners are excited to work with a company that is focused on removing barriers to the health and well-being of our patients and communities.

Deborah Prior, ARNP, FNP-BC
Assistant Area Director Clinic Operations,
Kansas City/Topeka/Lawrence/Wichita Walgreens