Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


A Community Empowerment Program Improves Food Environment for Food Insecure


Hospitality & Tourism Management


College of Community and Public Service

Date Range



The availability of affordable, nutritious food is often lacking in neighborhoods with large proportions of people of low socioeconomic status (SES), who often suffer from food insecurity. Food insecure individuals have high rates of obesity and related chronic diseases, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Consequently, there is a need to improve the food environment in areas of low SES. The purpose of this project was to empower neighborhood residents to make decisions and work with food providers and community leaders to enact recommendations for changes in available food in their neighborhood. The selected neighborhood was populated with many homeless and marginally housed individuals who obtain the majority of their food from soup kitchens and food pantries. A cohesive group of neighborhood residents was formed though a foot care outreach. This group, The Community Care and Enrichment Team (CCET) met weekly with support from a community nurse and registered dietitian. The CCET chose a 2-fold goal: to improve their community's nutrition knowledge and to have healthier food choices available in soup kitchens. A variety of interventions resulted in positive outcomes including decreased service of high-sugar beverages and increased offerings of fresh fruit and salads at the soup kitchens, and increased awareness among community leaders and food providers of the need to improve the nutritional value of food provided to those of low SES. The results of this program demonstrate the benefits of adopting an empowerment program to improve the nutrition and food environment of food insecure adults.

Conference Name

American Dietetic Association National Conference

Conference Location

Boston, MA

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