Reconsidering Food Prescription Programs in Relation to Household Food Insecurity

February 6, 2023

In their commentary “Reconsidering Food Prescription Programs in Relation to Household Food Insecurity” in The Journal of Nutrition, founding PROOF investigators Dr. Valerie Tarasuk and Dr. Lynn McIntyre raised important questions about food prescription programs and their ability to provide lasting health benefits for food-insecure patients and their families and to meaningfully reduce health inequities.

Food prescription programs provide food through referrals in healthcare settings to those in need, typically food-insecure patients with nutrition-related chronic conditions. Tarasuk and McIntyre reflected on recent research examining the impact of an Australian food prescription program for food-insecure adults with diabetes.

What would happen to patients and their health once their participation ends if nothing changes around the root causes of their food insecurity?

How can programs promote health equity when having to balance their ability to provide recipients with enough food and the exclusion that inevitably occurs when identifying participants through clinical settings or targeting those with nutrition-related chronic conditions?

The poor health and increased healthcare use associated with food insecurity extends far beyond nutrition-related conditions targeted. Yet trying to reach all people affected by food insecurity would make it more challenging to provide these services.

Tarasuk and McIntyre emphasized the need to consider these questions and the inability for food prescriptions to address the underlying socioeconomic conditions that give rise to food insecurity when thinking about these programs as clinical interventions and how to best address household food insecurity.

Read “Reconsidering Food Prescription Programs in Relation to Household Food Insecurity”. If you’d like assistance with accessing the commentary, feel free to email for a copy.

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