Feeding America is a non-profit organization and the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity. With a network of over 200 food banks, Feeding America helps provide food to over 37 million Americans each year (feedingamerica.org). In recent years, there has been a shift in the organization’s efforts to supply households with more nutrient dense food items. In 2004, the leadership of the Food Bank of Central New York implemented a nutrition policy of “no soda, no candy.” Because of this change of policy, the overall weight of products being distributed decreased, leaving food banks with no choice but to purchase staple foods to close the weight gap. Some banks even lost donors after the new policy change.
The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently published a study titled “A Qualitative study of Nutrition-Based Initiatives at Selected Food Banks in the Feeding America.” Researchers interviewed food bank directors, chief executive officers, and staff members in hopes of “understanding the current situation, development, and acceptance of nutrition-based initiatives at food banks,” as stated in the article. The study revealed that the world of food banking is clearly evolving in response to poor food environment and the health challenges facing food-insecure individuals in the United States. ” More than 80 percent of Feeding America food banks provide nutrition education programs in the communities they serve. These programs range from classes on how to purchase healthy foods on a limited budget, to engaging communities in growing their own fresh food.” Further research is needed to help Feeding America find the best way to implement nutrition-profiling systems and to help overcome barriers such as a loss of donors due to change in nutrition policies. The need for nutrition education and nutrition policy reform is on the rise and it is up to us to bring about change and really make a difference on a national level.
To read full article visit: http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672%2812%2901813-8/fulltext
To learn more about Feeding America visit: http://feedingamerica.org/