Access to affordable, nutritious food is essential to maintaining good health. The Food is Medicine program integrates food insecurity screening and referral to food assistance and nutrition education into primary care services. People who get their health care at participating Montgomery Cares clinics are routinely screened and liked to services, improving nutrition and health-related outcomes.
A pilot test of the Food is Medicine model found significant improvements in food access, healthy eating habits, and health outcomes. The pilot population was predominately overweight/obese and either had diabetes or was at high risk of diabetes. In just three months, the pilot program found reductions in body mass index in more than 60% of participants, and improvements in blood sugar control for half of participants with multiple tests. While these pilot results are based on a small sample and short timeframe, the success linking patients to services and improvements in health outcomes are extremely encouraging.
The Food is Medicine program is currently operating at three clinics, two of Mobile Medical Cares' clinics and Mercy Health Clinic. In the Future PCC aims to expand this initiative throughout the safety-net system.
Food is Medicine is funded through the Transforming Communities Initiative, which is committed to environmental, systems, and policy changes to promote better health, focusing on the Germantown/Gaithersburg and Silver Spring/Takoma Park regions in Montgomery County. Several partner organizations including Mobile Medical Care Inc., Mercy Health Clinic, Manna Food, CHEER, University of Maryland EFNEP, and the Montgomery County Food Council are working with the PCC establish a strong link between health care delivery services and food assistance and nutrition education. Please support our work today, because the chance to live a healthy life shouldn’t be a matter of luck.