Diabetes Patients Now Eligible for Food & Friends’ Medical Nutrition Services

- October 31, 2017

Expansion comes on the heels of 2-year pilot study with GW Heart & Vascular Institute

Washington, DC (November 1, 2017)—Food & Friends is proud to announce the expansion of its medically-tailored meal services to D.C. area residents living with poorly controlled diabetes. Having started as an organization serving those living with HIV and AIDS in the late 80s, the organization first expanded to include cancer patients in 2000. This latest expansion to include diabetes will leverage Food & Friends’ three decades of medical nutrition delivery experience, which is unique in the Washington area.

“Following a careful assessment of public health needs in this region, we have determined that our greatest impact will be to serve our neighbors living with advanced diabetes. This represents an expansion, and in no way diminishes our ongoing care of persons living with cancer and HIV/AIDS,” said Craig Shniderman, Executive Director of Food & Friends.

While until now diabetes alone has not been enough to qualify for Food & Friends’ services, in recent years approximately 20% of its clients have suffered from the disease, in addition to their primary HIV/AIDS or cancer diagnoses. The diabetic meal plan is one of 11 specialized meal plans offered by Food & Friends.

The decision to expand their services follows a two-year pilot project conducted by Food & Friends in conjunction with the GW Heart & Vascular Institute. The pilot examined the impact of tailored meals and nutrition counseling on over 100 clients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.

“We chose to partner with Food & Friends because they are the most robust and dependable organization out there,” said Dr. Gurusher Panjrath, of the George Washington Medical Faculty Associates. “They understand how to bring about change through better nutrition, nutrition counseling and food security.”

The pilot showed positive results, including reduced HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) levels, which gives an overall picture of a person’s average blood sugar. Lowering this number can cut the risk of kidney disease, cataracts, heart failure, amputation, peripheral vascular disease, and other ailments common among those living with poorly controlled diabetes.

“Controlling one’s diabetes through diet can be challenging, but the Food & Friends model provides both consistency and education. Dependable access to nutritious food, paired with one-on-one nutrition counseling, can significantly improve the lives of our diabetic clients,” said Priscilla Dhas MS, RD, LD, Nutrition Services Manager at Food & Friends.

Pilot participants reported improved medication adherence and increased knowledge about diabetes and its treatment. Through continued exposure to the diabetic meal plan, many pilot participants reported they did not miss their old foods, gained a better understanding of portion size and portion control, and now model their home-prepared meals after the meals provided by Food & Friends.

All Food & Friends clients must be referred by a health care provider. To obtain more information, or download an intake form, visit www.foodandfriends.org/refer.

For more information about the pilot study or other research on the impacts of meal services on diabetes patients, please contact Abigail Seiler at aseiler@foodandfriends.org.

###

ABOUT FOOD & FRIENDS

Food & Friends is a Washington, DC, based nonprofit organization that provides home-delivered, specialized meals, groceries and nutrition counseling to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes and other life-challenging illnesses. As a member of the Food Is Medicine Coalition, Food & Friends’ services are free-of-charge to recipients, who qualify solely based on their health status and nutritional need. Monday-Saturday, staff and volunteers deliver to more than 5,300 square miles including the District of Columbia, seven counties in Maryland, and seven counties and six independent cities in Virginia. In 2017, the DC City Paper Reader’s Poll recognized Food & Friends as the best place to volunteer. For more information, please visit www.foodandfriends.org, Facebook (/foodandfriends), Twitter (@foodandfriends) or Instagram (@foodandfriendsdc).