Study Aims to Create Diabetes Food Box Model for Food Banks

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Citations The New England Journal of Medicine

Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio - Community food banks may soon be able to improve how the estimated millions of people living with Type 2 diabetes and food insecurity manage their disease. Researchers and community groups have come together to develop a model that ensures food banks can contribute to successful, long-term diabetes management.

Investigators at The Ohio State University’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science (OSU CCTS) are working with Mid-Ohio Foodbank and other community stakeholders to learn how a regular, monthly supply of diabetes-friendly foods impacts the health of food pantry clients with Type 2 diabetes. The three-year study is being conducted in partnership with food banks in Ohio, Texas and California. Results will be used to develop and share best practice models among Feeding America’s more than 200 food banks across the country, as well as their networks of partner food pantries.

“Like other chronic diseases, Type 2 diabetes is increasing and is especially challenging to manage when people have limited foods or are food insecure,” said Diane Habash, PhD, RD, study investigator, CCTS bionutritionist and clinical professor in medical dietetics and health sciences at OSU. “Most people living with Type 2 diabetes can learn how to take medications and what is best to eat, but if there is a limited supply of food, it derails their best efforts to control the impact and progression of the disease.”

This study is the first of its kind to align a National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Awards program with Feeding America and Mid-Ohio Foodbank, one of its member food banks. The collaboration includes OSU CCTS, The Ohio State University School of Allied Medical Professions, the Central Ohio Diabetes Association and the Columbus Neighborhood Health Center. It is supported by a grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Together on Diabetes: Communities Uniting to Meet America’s Diabetes Challenge®.

“By bringing together this unique group of community health care and research professionals, along with CCTS capabilities, we are maximizing what we can learn,” said Habash. “Even greater, we can optimize this national effort to communicate and translate best practices to other communities serving those who are food insecure.”

Habash, who is also trained as a dietitian, encourages consumers to consider donating diabetes-friendly foods to food pantries this holiday season, including those high in fiber like vegetables, whole grains, fruits and also low-fat dairy products.

“During the holidays, all of us, including people with Type 2 diabetes, should eat regular meals, incorporate healthy vegetables, fruits and complex grains into meals and snacks, reduce excessive sweets and get recommended amounts of physical activity and sleep,” said Habash.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that can often be controlled by effective and consistent, personalized health management which includes food, medicine, education and a healthy lifestyle. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine by Seligman and Schilling in 2010 found that adults with the most severe food insecurity are more than twice as likely to have Type 2 diabetes.

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About The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science
Dedicated to turning the scientific discoveries of today into the life-changing health innovations of tomorrow, The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science (OSU CCTS) is a collaboration of experts including scientists and clinicians from seven OSU Health Science Colleges, OSU Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Funded by a multi-year Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health, OSU CCTS provides financial, organizational and educational support to biomedical researchers as well as opportunities for community members to participate in credible and valuable research. For more information, visit http://ccts.osu.edu or contact: Kim Toussant (kim.toussant@osumc.edu 614-366-7215).

About the Clinical and Translational Science Awards
Launched in 2006 by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program created academic homes for clinical and translational science at research institutions across the country. The CTSA’s primary goals are to speed the time it takes for basic science to turn into useable therapeutics that directly improve human health, and to train the next generation of clinicians and translational researchers.


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