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Capital Area Food Bank and Children’s National bring healthy groceries directly to kids and families through on-site food pharmacy

New initiative serves patients of Children’s National Diabetes Program February 10, 2022
A vertical banner promotes Children's National and Capital Area Food Bank new on site food pharmacy.
Capital Area Food Bank and Children’s National Hospital today announced the launch of a pilot program, hosted by the Endocrinology and Diabetes teams at Children’s National, that will enable children with prediabetes and diabetes who are experiencing food insecurity to leave their visits with nutritious groceries from an on-site “food pharmacy.”

“We know that good food and good health are deeply interconnected, especially for young people,” said Radha Muthiah, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank. “For children whose families may not always have the resources to get a nutritious meal on the table, all kinds of health challenges can emerge, including diabetes. We’re proud to be partnering with Children’s National on an initiative that will enable brighter futures for kids by making healthy groceries available right at the point of care.”   

The goal of the food pharmacy program is to improve patient health by creating easy access to foods that help with the management of diabetes and to reduce barriers to routine attendance at clinic appointments by co-locating food assistance with medical care. Children diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes (Types 1 and 2) who also screen positive for food insecurity are given a prescription for medically-tailored groceries, which can be filled immediately on site. The supply includes both produce and shelf-stable items. Families are also provided with information about where to find additional help obtaining food, along with nutrition education materials.

Rates of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in children have been rapidly increasing in the past years, partly a consequence of the epidemic of childhood obesity. These conditions disproportionally impact children of African and Hispanic descent and those coming from low-income families, according to Elizabeth Estrada, M.D., director of the Type 2 Diabetes Program at Children’s National.

“Healthy eating is crucial in the treatment and prevention of these conditions, but many of our families lack access to nutritious food,” said Dr. Estrada. “The partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank to establish a food pharmacy within the diabetes clinic allows us to not only help our patients and families with recommendations for healthy eating but also provides them with the foods they need to prepare nutritious meals.” 

Through the initiative, the Capital Area Food Bank and Children’s National aim to reach up to 120 unique families per month, providing each household with 35 pounds of food per visit over the course of a year.

Media contact: Beth Riggs | 202-476-4500

About Capital Area Food Bank

The Capital Area Food Bank works to address hunger today and create brighter futures tomorrow for the half a million neighbors across the region experiencing food insecurity. As the anchor in the area’s hunger relief infrastructure, they provided over 45 million meals to people in need each year by supplying food to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, including Martha’s Table, SOME – So Others Might Eat, DC Central Kitchen, Food for Others, Manna, and others. They also work in partnership with organizations across the region to address hunger’s root causes by pairing food with other critical services. For more information, visit www.capitalareafoodbank.org.

About Children’s National Hospital

Children’s National Hospital, based in Washington, D.C., was established in 1870 to help every child grow up stronger. Today, it is among the nation’s top 10 children’s hospitals. It is ranked No. 1 for newborn care for the fifth straight year and ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. Children’s National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children. The Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus opened in 2021, a first-of-its-kind pediatric hub dedicated to developing new and better ways to care for kids. Children’s National has been designated three times in a row as a Magnet® hospital, demonstrating the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty care locations in the D.C. metropolitan area, including Maryland and Virginia. Children’s National is home to the Children’s National Research Institute and Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. It is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. As a non-profit, Children's National relies on generous donors to help ensure that every child receives the care they need.

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