A recent Canadian study has demonstrated that severely food insecure people have healthcare costs more than twice as high as people who are food secure. Food insecurity occurs when a household lacks reliable access to sufficient affordable and nutritious food. It is characterized by fear and worry concerning one’s next meal. Study findings indicated that as food insecurity worsened, healthcare utilization and total healthcare costs increased. Nutrient lacking diets were cited by study researchers as a factor contributing to poor health. The researchers also acknowledged that while many food insecure people are aware of the need for improved health this concern is difficult to balance when money is tight and worries are plenty.
According to FeedingAmerica.org, 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children in 2014. 1 in 5 Washingtonians depends on resources from their local food bank as cited by Northwest Harvest.
At Grays Harbor Public Health, we are working to engage in this phenomenon: to assist others to apply tools to help battle these statistics. In order to make this a reality, we will be implementing a curriculum developed by UC CalFresh called Plan, Shop, Save, and Cook (PSSC). Through funding from SNAPEd, our team will be bringing nutrition and cooking classes to local food banks within the county starting in January 2016. The food banks that will host PSSC are Aberdeen Community Food Bank, Hoquiam Food Bank, Ocean Shores Food Bank, Salvation Army Food Bank, Seventh Day Adventist Food Bank, and the WIC clinic. The classes will explore ways to include healthy habits within a budget, money saving shopping tips, and ways to stretch food over the course of a month.