Back to Evidence & Resource Library

Six recommendations for accelerating uptake of national food security screening in primary care settings

S. Taher, S.D. Persell, N.R. Kandula
J Gen Intern Med

Food insecurity is the limited access to nutritious food that prevents people from living active and healthy lives. Importantly, it is associated with nutritional deficiency, obesity, and chronic disease health disparities across the USA. For the past decade, roughly one in eight US households was food insecure, with lower-income, minority households experiencing a greater burden. Over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic crisis for many individuals and the demand for food assistance has nearly doubled. Food assistance comes in many forms. Federally funded programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and school meal programs. These programs serve one in four Americans and actively work with non-profit and public organizations, such as food pantries and public schools to make healthy and nutritious food more accessible and affordable for children and low-income families.

A multi-sector response that integrates clinical care and community food assistance services is a powerful lever to ameliorate this growing crisis. Studies have demonstrated effective collaborations between primary care and community organizations to assist with chronic disease management through coordinated care and increased access to unmet social needs. Evidence also points to multi-sector interventions to address food insecurity in response to national organizations calling for clinical food security screening in primary care practice.

Taher S, Persell SD, Kandula NR. Six recommendations for accelerating uptake of national food security screening in primary care settings. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Sep 24:1–3. doi: 10.1007/s11606-021-07137-1. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34561825.

View the Resource
Publication year
Resource type
Commentaries & Blogs
Social Determinant of Health