Dr. Diana Cutts, a pediatrician at Hennepin County Medical Center, is a pioneer in incorporating nutritional support as part of routine medical care. Dr. Cutts recently told a group of health care, policy, food industry, and nonprofit sector experts that in order to come to terms with the problem of hunger as a factor in health outcomes, we first need to accept that hunger is real. She says 36 percent of the families she sees at HCMC are living with food insecurity. And, she says, in Minnesota, 14.5 percent of families live with inconsistent access to nutritional food. The health outcomes of that situation, she asserts, are plain: diabetes, low birth weight, hospitalizations, obesity and many other illnesses are caused or worsened by food insecurity.
Her talk was part of Second Harvest Heartland’s “Health and Hunger Forum“, hosted by Healthy States at Minnesota Public Radio.
Second Harvest Heartland presented data compiled by Boston Consulting Group that found health organizations like hospitals could play a much larger role in combating hunger to help prevent illness and disease.