Food and Nutrition

The inability to put enough healthy food on the table due to financial hardship, also known as food insecurity, has a profound impact on health and well-being. Food insecurity has been linked with poor health outcomes, including a higher risk of birth defects, anemia, high blood pressure, poorer cognitive function, and diabetes. It is also associated with a greater risk of mental health issues, from childhood anxiety to burdens on maternal mental health. While financial hardship may contribute to food and nutrition deficiencies, other factors — such as food deserts or a lack of education about how to shop for, prepare, and eat healthy meals and snacks — shouldn’t be overlooked.

Boston Medical Center (BMC) seeks to ensure that no patient goes hungry and that everyone has the tools and knowledge to create lasting changes in their daily eating habits. BMC’s efforts to combat food insecurity and promote nutrition for all include a food pantry that provides free groceries to patients and families, a teaching kitchen where patients and community members can watch live cooking demos and take home recipes for healthy meals, and a rooftop farm that supplies the hospital with healthy fruits and vegetables. Other programs and services address weight management, children’s nutrition, and access to regional and federal food-assistance programs.

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