Every March, the National Nutrition Month campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

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Learn more about a hunger-relief non-profit that teamed up with community partners to promote diabetes awareness.

Feeding America celebrates National Nutrition Month alongside hunger relief organizations across the country. The campaign, takes place each year during March to raise awareness about the importance of healthy lifestyles. Families struggling with hunger are often forced to purchase cheap unhealthy foods with a limited budget, increasing their chances of developing long term health problems like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that an individual with diagnosed diabetes incurs average medical expenditures of approximately $13,700 per year, of which roughly $7,900 is attributed to diabetes.

In February 2015, Feeding America San Diego (FASD), the largest hunger-relief organization in San Diego County, launched the Diabetes Wellness Project. Approved by the UC San Diego Institutional Review Board, the project will be run by FASD staff and UC San Diego School of Medicine student volunteers. 

“For those struggling to make ends meet, it is difficult to keep food on the table, much less maintain the strict diet necessary to manage diabetes,” said Jennifer Seneor, director of programs at Feeding America San Diego. “Thirty-two percent of the households we serve contain a member with diabetes and 40 percent lack health insurance of any kind. Innovative projects like this will pave the road for a new approach to hunger-relief that goes beyond providing calories to improving the health of our communities.” 
After consultation with their doctor, identified patients will enter a six month diabetes-focused nutrition course and a specialized FASD food program. The food program consists of monthly Diabetes Wellness Food Boxes containing food specifically designed to help chronically ill patients manage their diabetes, along with nutrition resources and recipes. Patients will fill out a pre-and post-assessment survey with the medical students, and have pre - and post-assessments of their diabetes control using HbA1c testing. The project will run for nine months, during which time FASD estimates it will provide diabetic assistance and food to 200 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes with the goal of reducing the effects and cost of the disease for those struggling with food insecurity.

Four to six times per year, Tandem employees gather at Feeding America San Diego to volunteer at the Saturday Morning Food Sorting shift, and we look forward to following the Diabetes Wellness Project.