This commitment coincides with Kaiser Permanente’s participation in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health along with other national leaders in food and nutrition security to create a strategy to address the food and diet-related challenges Americans continue to face.
“When people are hungry, lack proper nutrition or equitable access to the food they need to meet their most urgent medical needs, they are less likely to get or stay healthy,” said Bechara Choucair, senior vice president and chief health officer. At Kaiser Permanente. “This is a historic opportunity to reimagine what the food and nutrition landscape can and should look like as part of a healthier, more equitable society.”
Kaiser Permanente’s multiyear commitment will support Food is Medicine—a national movement linking nutrition, chronic disease, and nutritional services that help improve health outcomes. Kaiser Permanente will focus its efforts on 4 main areas:
- Coordinate with publicly funded programs to support Kaiser Permanente members who experience food and nutrition insecurity or diet-related illnesses
- Support the production of evidence and accelerate the expansion of Food is Medicine programs to target populations and coverage
- Addressing food and nutrition insecurity through targeted community investments and building coalitions to help more people
- Accelerate partnerships between Kaiser Permanente and private companies to reduce hunger, improve nutrition, prevent and treat diet-related diseases, and improve health equity
The relationship between getting enough healthy food and an individual’s general well-being is clear, as the widespread, chronic health complications of hunger cause the cost of health to rise to $160 billion each year. Investing in social health needs such as access to affordable and healthy food and the prevention and treatment of diet-related diseases is central to Kaiser Permanente’s mission to improve the health of the communities it serves.
said Judy Monroe, managing director and CEO of the CDC Foundation, which has been working with organizations about potential commitments made in connection with the conference. “Kaiser Permanente’s plans show how a healthcare organization can play a critical role in preventing and treating diet-related diseases in vulnerable populations.”
Between now and 2030, Kaiser Permanente’s commitment of $50 million will support specific initiatives such as: screening more than 9 million Kaiser Permanente members for social health needs including food and nutrition security; expanding e-commerce solutions to increase healthy purchasing options for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) recipients; expansion of Food Is Medicine programs including product prescriptions (“Produce Rx”) and medically designed meals for patients recently hospitalized with diet-related illnesses; and building strategic partnerships with innovative companies including those owned by underrepresented groups, small start-ups and employers at scale.
Kaiser Permanente has deep experience addressing food insecurity, treating diet-related illnesses, and implementing Food Is Medicine programs.
The organization’s approach to transforming the economic, social and political environments associated with food has included millions of dollars in grants to organizations working to improve food and nutrition security and assist with SNAP food assistance applications for 100,000 of its members. In 2020, Kaiser Permanente launched three rigorous clinically designed meal prep research studies of newly discharged hospital patients with chronic conditions. Through this research, 2,100 patients have received more than 116,000 clinically designed meals as of August 2022.