Addressing Food Insecurity to Improve Quality of Life

It has been two years since we kicked off our Bold Goal – to help make the communities we serve 20 percent healthier by 2020. In that time, we have learned a lot about how we can improve communities and health outcomes.

Food insecurity, which is the lack of access to enough nutrient-rich food for a healthy, active life, has emerged as one of the biggest barriers to health in many of our Bold Goal communities. In Broward County, we partnered with Feeding South Florida and worked closely with the physicians and clinical staff at Continucare Medical Centers to launch a food insecurity screening and referral pilot program.

The pilot was open to all patients, regardless of insurance coverage, at participating Continucare Medical Centers. About half of patients screened lacked appropriate access to food. This group experienced nearly twice as many unhealthy days* compared to patients with appropriate access. Of course, screening alone is not enough – we also want to make it easier for physicians to connect their patients to the resources they need. Patients who screened positive were offered consultation and an emergency food box from Feeding South Florida while in the physician’s office. This is all about having the right intervention for the right population at the right time.

The Broward County food insecurity pilot was recently featured in an article for Yahoo! Finance. You can find out more about this study and other peer-reviewed Humana research at our research site.

Through our collaborations with community physicians, nonprofits and business and government organizations, we can make great progress lifting the health of our communities. See how far we have come in our Bold Goal 2017 Progress Report.

Roy Beveridge, M.D. Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

*As measured by Healthy Days, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tool that surveys individual mental and physical unhealthy days in a 30-day period.