To raise awareness and to offer suggestions for how health care professionals might treat food insecurity in their patients, Humana partnered with Feeding America to develop a toolkit. This resource is intended to support health care providers as they identify patients who are food insecure and to make connections with community resources to help patients improve their access to healthy food, their diet quality and ultimately their health.
What is food insecurity?
Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” Food insecurity is a situation in which households lack access to enough nutritious food for a healthy, active life.
As the health care sector seeks to better understand and address social determinants of health, food insecurity is emerging as a key factor for chronic disease – and one that health care providers can help address in order to improve health outcomes.
The food insecurity screening and referral process consist of five steps:
- Identifying patients living in food insecure households
- Connecting patients with proper resources
- Considering clinical needs that result from food insecurity
- Following up with patients at their next office visit
- Measuring the impact of food insecurity intervention(s) on patients’ food insecurity status and health