Cultivating Healthy Communities: Lessons from the Field on Addressing Food Insecurity in Health Care Settings

Health care providers are becoming increasingly aware that the key to improving patients’ health relies on addressing their social needs. Understanding that a large percentage of patient health outcomes are due to factors outside of clinical care, many clinics and hospitals around the country have taken a preventive approach by actively screening for health-related social needs, such as food insecurity, and offering services to address them.

While this policy brief specifically focuses on addressing food insecurity in pediatric populations, screening for food insecurity and connecting patients with resources may be implemented across diverse patient populations. A variety of health care-based approaches to addressing food insecurity – from easy entry to more complex, resource-intensive – can be tailored for the needs of individual health care settings. With time and support, any setting can move toward providing greater assistance.