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Food and Nutrition

Food and health are inextricable: poor nutrition has been linked with health outcomes such as birth defects, anemia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poorer cognitive function, and diabetes. Food insecurity, which is a lack of reliable access to enough healthy food, has also shown associations with mental health issues, from childhood anxiety to burdens on maternal mental health.

Boston Medical Center wants to ensure that no patient goes hungry and that everyone has the tools and education to make positive, healthy food choices for their needs. While financial hardship may contribute to food and nutrition deficiencies, other factors — such as urban food deserts or a lack of education about how to shop for, prepare, and eat healthy meals and snacks — shouldn’t be overlooked.

BMC’s efforts to broaden access to nutritious food are far-reaching, from programs that feed hungry patients to actionable education that empowers patients and the community around their dietary choices. The Preventive Food Pantry, for example, allows patients to access free groceries, including perishables such as produce and meats, with the support and supervision of a registered dietetic technician. Through BMC’s Teaching Kitchen, patients and community members can watch live demos and take home recipes teaching them to transform those ingredients into nourishing family meals. A rooftop farm atop BMC’s power plant supplies many of the crops needed for those efforts. Other programs meet additional areas of need, including weight management, children’s nutrition resources, and facilitated access to regional and federal programs.

No one should have to suffer poor health as a result of poor nutrition. Together, we can help give Boston families the nourishment they need, and the improved health and wellbeing they deserve.

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