Health Research

Woman living with diabetes

Food insecurity and health are intricately linked. A lack of nutritious food has detrimental effects on both physical and mental health, and can increase a person’s risk for developing health problems. Managing a chronic disease like diabetes or hypertension is complex and made even more challenging by food insecurity. 

Our health research focuses on the roles that food, community-based interventions, and food bank-healthcare partnerships have on improving outcomes for people living in food insecure homes.

For more resources on the intersection of health and food insecurity, visit


Food bank diabetes intervention improves food security outcomes

To evaluate food bank interventions on outcomes for adults living with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, Feeding America conducted a randomized controlled research trial. After 6 months, participants experienced significant improvements in food security, dietary intake and food stability, but no differences were observed in diabetes management.

Comprehensive Diabetes Self-Management Support From Food Banks: A Randomized Controlled Trial
2018, Feeding America and University of California, San Francisco
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Changes in food pantry environment support healthier choices

Informed by the field of behavioral economics, nudges, or environmental cues, were implemented in food pantry settings. Evidence from the pilot suggests that clients select more healthier foods when nudges were implemented.

The Power of Nudges: Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice in Food Pantries
2016, Feeding America and Cornell University
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Food banks a promising partner in the fight against diabetes

A two-year pilot project found that targeted programs for food insecure adults living with diabetes significantly improved a number of outcomes, including blood sugar control. This observational study provided early evidence for how food banks and health care providers can work together to improve outcomes in low-income communities.

A Pilot Food Bank Intervention Featuring Diabetes-Appropriate Food Improved Glycemic Control Among Clients In Three States
2015, Feeding America and University of California, San Francisco