November is National Diabetes Month
, a time when communities across the nation team up to raise awareness about diabetes and the impact it has on over 30 million Americans.
According to Feeding America’s latest Hunger in America report, 33% of food-insecure households have at least one member living with diabetes. This rate increases to 47% in food-insecure households with seniors.
Why are these numbers so high? Families and individuals struggling with food insecurity are often faced with tough decisions, such as paying for nutritious foods or paying for vital medications, health care, utilities, transportation, education, or child care.
Tight budgets and limited access to healthy foods can also make preventing or managing diabetes extremely challenging, which can further burden families through increased diabetes complications, health care costs, and missed days of work or school. In fact, the American Diabetes Association reports that diagnosed diabetes cost America $327 billion in direct medical costs and reduced productivity in 2017 - a 26% increase from 2012.
This is where food banks like Gleaners can make a big impact on both hunger and health in the community. By intentionally sourcing and distributing more nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, we can increase households’ access to health-promoting foods and free up their budget to cover other important costs.
Providing nutrition education, healthy recipes, and cooking classes can further support our neighbors in preventing and managing diabetes and other chronic diseases. Gleaners also partners with several local health care providers to increase access to medical services and promote overall well-being.
"The food bank gives us healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, so I don't have to eat as much of the starchy foods like I used to. The extra help has made my diabetes much easier to manage. My health has really improved." - Pat (*story from Feeding America)
Together, we can reduce the staggering costs of diabetes
for the hungry Hoosiers we serve!