Food Pantry Packages and Diabetes Control

For people with diabetes who are also struggling with food insecurity, there is a tension between their need to stretch their food budgets and purchase diabetes-appropriate foods, medication, and monitoring supplies.

This project builds upon a randomized controlled trial of a diabetes intervention in food pantries that began recruiting participants in fall 2015. The Feeding America Intervention Trial for Health--Diabetes Mellitus study assigns diabetic food pantry clients to either a treatment group or wait-list control group in order to evaluate the efficacy of a community-based intervention to improve diabetes control in food-insecure populations. The intervention includes screening for diabetes in food pantries, periodic glucose monitoring, provision of diabetes-appropriate food boxes twice a month and diabetes self-management education classes, and referrals to primary care if needed.

We will build on this study to answer additional questions that will inform policy and practice. The project will allow us to assess whether observed improvements in outcomes are sustained after program completion; whether a modified intervention would be sufficient to achieve improvements in outcomes; and whether there are longer-term reductions in health care costs. This new research will:

  1. Conduct follow-up assessments of the treatment group six months after the intervention has been completed,
  2. Conduct follow-up assessments of the control group at the 12-month mark after they have received the modified intervention for six months; and
  3. Allow for an additional round of data collection at 12 months from health providers for the initial treatment group.