Oklahoma consistently ranks as one of the worst states in the United States for health, which includes: cardiovascular deaths, diabetes deaths and obesity. Oklahoma has one of the lowest rate of vegetable consumption in the nation. Food insecurity is linked to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases. The experience of living with food insecurity may result in poor cognitive development and can lead to chronic disease later in life for children.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Fresh Rx initiative is a strategic effort to improve health outcomes for low-income, high-risk Oklahomans. This collaborative project involves community partners, state and county health departments, and health care facilities. The program combines healthy food distribution, nutrition education and recipe cards. The program also teaches healthcare partners how to identify patients with food insecurity and how to provide referrals to food bank agencies and programs in order to connect patients with healthy food.
In addition to the above programs, the following ideas have been discussed for expanding this focus area: