Nutrition and Health
When people cannot access healthy food, or afford to make healthy food choices, they have worse health and lower quality of life.
Rising fuel and gas prices have made access to healthy foods out of financial reach for many struggling families, and food deserts makes accessing healthy food difficult. In addition, poorly-maintained public institutions result in inadequate transportation, markets with few healthy foods and unsafe environments, all of which ultimately undermine a community's success.
Hunger also complicates the road to recovery for disease, and makes it difficult to manage chronic illness such as diabetes.
When we address the causes of food insecurity and hunger, Central Texans will enjoy a healthier, stronger community and reduced medical costs.
CAFB's role in supporting good nutrition and health outcomes
Recognizing that the low-income community often struggles to access healthy food, CAFB works to ensure that the majority of food it distributes is of higher nutritional value. The Choosing Healthy Option Program (CHOP), is a comprehensive program created by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to promote the acquisition, distribution and consumption of healthy food. All food items in the Food Bank warehouse are ranked based on their nutritional content included on the nutrition facts label and ingredient list. Foods are ranked 1, 2, 3 or MC (minimal contribution), with 1 being the highest rating a food can receive. Each month, CAFB nutritionists analyze the CHOP rankings to measure progress toward the nutrition goals for food distributed by the Food Bank. Nutritionists can also look at the Partner Agency order history, which includes CHOP rankings, to determine the amount of nutritious food ordered and offer assistance to agencies in making healthier choices for their clients. In fiscal year 2010-11, 84 percent of CAFB's inventory was ranked 1 or 2.
Additionally, CAFB conducts the CHOICES program, free nutrition education for clients.
Spotlight on Hunger and Obesity
Texas ranks among the worst states in the nation for hunger, child hunger and obesity. Learn how these public health issues coexist and what can be done about it.
Food insecurity and risk for obesity among children and families: Healthy eating research conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation explores the connection between food insecurity and obesity.
The Paradox of Hunger and Obesity in America: This study from FRAC and the Center on Hunger and Poverty explains how hunger and obesity can co-exist.
Obesity, Food Insecurity and the Federal Nutrition Programs: Understanding the Linkages: This 33-page paper from the FRAC, written in simple, easily understood language and including an extensive reference list, is especially useful for policymakers, anti-hunger advocates, and organizations and individuals that work on children's education and health issues.
Parental Overweight, Socioeconomic Status and High Birth Weight Are the Major Determinants of Overweight and Obesity in 5- to 7-Year-Old Children: This study finds that overweight families of low socioeconomic status have the highest risk of overweight and obese children.
Obesity and Access to Federal Nutrition Programs
There is no evidence that participation in federal nutrition programs causes obesity according to the USDA. In fact, research shows that participation in federal nutrition programs greatly reduces the risk of overweight among food-insecure girls.
Texans Care for Children Policy Briefing Paper: Nourishing Texas' Children Preventing the twin challenges of childhood hunger and obesity