National Academy of Medicine

Nutrition-Focused Food Banking

By Elizabeth Campbell, Karen Webb, Michelle Ross, Patricia Crawford, Heather Hudson, Ken Hecht
April 02, 2015 | Discussion Paper

In the decades since the establishment of the Charitable Food System (CFS), its clientele has transformed from those in short-term crisis to those who are chronically food insecure, many of whom are working, but in low wage jobs. CFS recipients, like other low-income people, have also been disproportionally affected by diet related conditions including high rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. This has brought attention to the types of foods procured by food banks and distributed through their affiliated pantries. This paper describes how food banks and the CFS have evolved over the past 40 years, identifies influences on the nutritional aspects of the evolution, and provides a vision for the food bank network, including steps that would support the CFS in their continued efforts to provide foods of higher nutritional quality

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.