In the face of economic challenges, many Americans struggle to afford enough food for themselves and their families. Such times of hardship can actually help feed the obesity epidemic, because the low cost of unhealthy food, coupled with a lack of access to affordable, healthy food, means that the food that often reaches the table is high in calories but low in nutritional quality.
Neighborhood food banks and government food programs are an important way that many low-income families can get access to the food they need. So it’s important that such programs provide access to more nutritious meals.
Healthy Eating in Hard Times (HEHT) is a part of Kaiser Permanente’s response to the recession, rising levels of food insecurity, and how we will help communities stay healthy through any economic downturn. HEHT seeks to ensure that food insecure families have access to healthy food (not just calories) when they need it the most.
Kaiser Permanente provides grants to food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens to improve the nutritional quality of the food they distribute to clients. We also assist organizations working to improve the effectiveness of food stamps and other federal nutrition programs so that eligible families are able to stretch their food budgets to incorporate more fresh, healthy foods.