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Food boxes and care kits: Health Dept offers new types of support

Food boxes and care kits: Health Dept offers new types of support

Published 1:15 am Sunday, May 21, 2023

The Piedmont Health District of the Virginia Health Department has two new programs to help community members struggling with COVID-19 or food insecurities.  That’s done through partnerships with Feed More and Unite Us to launch The COVID-19 Care Kit and The Healthy Food Box programs.

The COVID-19 Care Kit Program is funded through the Rural Health Grant to fund a COVID-19-specific project. These kits will provide a reusable grocery bag, at-home Covid test kits, hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, chicken noodle soup, Pedialyte and a get-well-soon card signed by the staff. These kits are available for community members fighting the virus and need a little extra support. 

“This is a way we can show that we care and help while they are home sick,” said Kaycie Porter, community health worker for the Piedmont Health District.

A healthy food box

The second program is The Healthy Food Box Program. For these boxes, the Piedmont Health District has partnered with Feed More to supply the food for the boxes. These will be available for community members caught in an emergency food shortage. This can be due to supply shortages, not being able to get by until the next food pantry or not being qualified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) but still facing hardships. The Healthy Food Box will include shelf-stable food items like rice, pasta and vegetables.

“We came up with this as a team as many community members could be in need as food prices continue to go up and in light of the emergency benefits of SNAP being lifted,” said Porter. 

These kits will be delivered

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Riverfront Museum, Peoria nonprofit partner to fight food insecurity

Peoria Grown workds to address the issue of food insecurity in the Peoria area, with an emphasis on locally grown foods and fresh produce. (Photo courtesy of Peoria Grown)

The Peoria Riverfront Museum is partnering with Peoria Grown to help residents get hands-on with their health.

The museum is hosting a Peoria Grown Pop-Up on Saturday, May 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the sun plaza, 222 SW Washington St.

The event is intended for the whole family, with live food demos, activities and challenges to improve individual and community wellness awareness.

Try an array of culturally diverse fruits and vegetables to fill a food passport. Participants can get their heart pumping with a dance party led by Studio Z.

Licensed dieticians will be on hand to answer questions and talk with individuals about healthy eating habits.

Peoria Grown is partnering with the Peoria Riverfront Museum for special events throughout the summer, planning heart-healthy events in conjunction with the Body Worlds RX exhibit at the museum, which opened May 13.

For more information on these events, visit RiverfrontMuseum.org.

The museum and Peoria Grown are looking for volunteers of all ages to help at one of these heart-healthy events. They will take place on the fourth Saturday of each month. See the dates and ages groups below:

May 27 — elementary students

June 24 — high school/college students

July 22 — senior adults 65 and older

Aug. 26 — open to all ages.

To sign up to volunteer, go to www.flipcause.com.

Peoria Grown was founded in 2018 with a mission is to address food insecurity issues through improved coordination of resources; access to affordable, healthy food with an emphasis on fresh produce; and education on nutrition and making healthy food choices.

The organization looks to address the

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The impact of living in a ‘food desert’ on metabolic health during pregnancy

Metabolic health during pregnancy is essential for both the mother and child; however, several factors, including socioeconomic status (SES) and access to healthy food, can disrupt a woman’s metabolic health during pregnancy. A new paper in Scientific Reports explores the roles of these factors during pregnancy.

Study: The association between food desert severity, socioeconomic status, and metabolic state during pregnancy in a prospective longitudinal cohort. Image Credit: Kwangmoozaa / Shutterstock.com Study: The association between food desert severity, socioeconomic status, and metabolic state during pregnancy in a prospective longitudinal cohort. Image Credit: Kwangmoozaa / Shutterstock.com

Introduction

Metabolic dysregulation during pregnancy is associated with several maternal and fetal complications. Fetal problems may include preterm birth, stillbirth, neonatal death, heavy babies, low birth weight, and macrosomia, as well as obesity, metabolic disorders, and an increased risk of aberrant neurodevelopment later in life.

For the mother, metabolic dysregulation during pregnancy may predispose them to long-term medical complications, such as cardiometabolic disorders, renal disease, and urological disease.

The health effects of living in a ‘food desert’

To promote a healthy metabolism during pregnancy, the woman should be able to access and afford healthy food. A ‘food desert’ refers to an area of low-income families with little access to healthy foods.

People living in food deserts are at an increased risk of poor-quality diets, obesity, and nutrient deficiencies, as well as having a low SES. A lower SES increases a pregnant woman’s risk of metabolic complications, including gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), excessive weight gain, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

Living in a food desert increases the risk of medical and metabolic complications during pregnancy. For example, one earlier study reported an increased risk of GDM in women living in neighborhoods with fewer grocery stores.

This may be due to both living in a food desert as well as increased consumption of pro-inflammatory food, both of which are associated with poor metabolic health in non-pregnant people. This population is also more

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