As the diabetes epidemic mounts, a growing number of community-based organizations, employers, and payers are partnering with health care providers and systems to address diabetes outside of health care settings, often by providing diabetes self-management support. Recently, food banks and food pantries have begun to emerge as additional ideal partners in this process.
Through Feeding America’s initial Diabetes Pilot (2011-2014), generously funded by The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Together on Diabetes initiative, three member food banks offered clients diabetes appropriate food, education, blood sugar monitoring and referrals to primary care physicians.
The result: better diabetes control and medication adherence and an overall improvement in the consumption of healthy food. The research is the first formal evaluation of a diabetes intervention for food insecure people involving the actual provision of food, and the success of the pilot confirmed that this model is highly desirable to food banks, clients and to health care partners and is feasible to implement in this unique community-based setting.
> Read the results of this pilot study by Feeding America and University of California, San Francisco in Health Affairs, a leading peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the intersection of health, healthcare and policy.
The observational pilot study is now being followed by a more extensive research trial at three different member food banks. The randomized control trial design will ensure that we accurately understand the benefits that can be expected from implementation of similar diabetes interventions across our network of food banks.