Food banks and the promotion of better health and nutrition

June 06, 2023 | Food Testing Lab

Food banks are facing challenges in terms of promoting nutrition, health, and equity depending on the funding that is made available. Back in 2021, around 53 million people in the United States have resorted to food banks and community programmes for support. This statistic led researchers from the University of California to develop a tool that helps food banks employ additional strategies to ensure the promotion of health and nutrition. They conducted their sample study from food banks linked to Feeding America and the Midwest Food Bank.

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The tool, called Food Bank Health and Nutrition Assessment, aims to help organizations in evaluating their healthy eating initiatives and allowing them to reflect on their current practices. Afterwhich, they get to decide if they need to utilize additional strategies to meet those needs.

The tool also serves as a benchmark for which organizations can track their progress over time. Food pantry clients can be represented on advisory boards where they can offer feedback about foods that they would like to receive.

Moreover, the researchers saw the importance of food banks delivering additional efforts to food recipients such as nutritional education materials and information on federal assistance programs available in different languages. They also recommended that organizations should be partnering with local farmers in terms of increasing the variety and accessibility of nutritious food.

Even though data gathered from this assessment tool might be hard to implement, food bank advocates can opt for policy changes to meet current demands and beat food insecurity.

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