Kansas City Nonprofit, Food Equality Initiative Proclaims September 14th National Food is Medicine Day

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September 14th is National Food is Medicine Day. Led by Food Equality Initiative (FEI), communities across the nation are supporting and proclaiming that healthy food is medicine that can improve public health.

Food is Medicine Day!

“We have health insurance programs to ensure that everyone has access to prescription medications, but we don’t have any healthcare that gives people equal access to medically necessary food,” Julia Bracken, MD, Children’s Mercy Hospital

Food Equality Initiative (FEI), is the first nonprofit in the nation to serve low-income individuals with food allergies and celiac disease by subsidizing the cost of essential foods needed for a healthy life.

“Healthy food that is free-from allergens and gluten is the only medicine that can improve the health of families and individuals with food allergies and celiac disease,” said Emily Brown, Founder and CEO of FEI. “Yet the high cost of these foods is an almost insurmountable barrier for under-resourced families and individuals who require safe food for a healthy life.”

To bring awareness about the barriers to healthy food, FEI proclaims September 14 as the first annual National Food is Medicine Day.

Barriers to healthy food include:
●    Food Deserts: urban areas where it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.
●    Food Swamps: areas with plenty of fast or junk food outlets, convenience stores, and liquor stores but few healthy food options.
●    Financial: Free-from and gluten-free food is more expensive than other foods.
●    Dietary restrictions: Limit what an individual can safely eat.
●    Nutrition education: Lack of education about safe foods and where to find them.
●    Transportation: Ability to drive to find free-from and gluten-free foods.
●    Time: Time to shop, store, and prepare healthy meals.

These barriers are a leading cause of death because they exacerbate chronic disease, increase mental health challenges, and drive up medical costs.

National Food is Medicine Day calls for private enterprise, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to join together to focus on getting people the healthy food that is the medicine they need to have a productive life.

“We have health insurance programs to ensure that everyone has access to prescription medications, but we don’t have any healthcare that gives people equal access to medically necessary food,” says Julia Bracken, MD, Children’s Mercy Hospital and member of FEI’s Medical Advisory Board. “We must remedy this food crisis by focusing on getting people the healthy food that is the medicine they need.”

On National Food is Medicine Day, Food Equality Initiative encourages getting involved in the movement by donating to organizations that support access to healthy food, requesting a proclamation of Food is Medicine Day in your own town, city, or state, and/or hosting an awareness event.

You can also use the hashtags #FIMDAY #foodismedicineday #foodismedicine on social media with pictures of orange food to help spread awareness. (Orange is the color of Food is Medicine and Hunger Action Month movements.)

About Food Equality Initiative: Food Equality Initiative (FEI) started the nation’s first nutrition assistance program specializing in diets restricted due to food allergies and celiac disease. By subsidizing the extra costs of foods free from allergens and gluten, FEI eases the financial and psychological strain of a diagnosis of food-related illness on under-resourced individuals and families.

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Erin Martinez
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