Adagio Health receives PA DOH funding to support healthy food access initiatives

Adagio Health receives PA DOH funding to support healthy food access initiatives

Teaching Kitchens and Food Cupboards positively impact food security and healthier eating

Pittsburgh, PA (April 29, 2024) – Food insecurity can have big impacts on overall health. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, when access to healthy food is challenging, many people may turn to foods that are fast to get, higher in calories, and lower in nutritional value. Households without access to nutritious foods can also experience obesity, diabetes, and even development delays in children. At Adagio Health, Food Cupboards are in every medical and WIC office, which provides nutritious options for patients who screen positive for food insecurity.

Since January 2023, Adagio Health has helped provide healthy food to over 1,900 patients and 96% have said that having access to the Food Cupboards reduced their family’s stress around food that month. Through the Healthy Food Access Grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Adagio Health will further expand access to healthy food with a new WIC mobile unit. Adagio Health’s “WIC on Wheels” van will regularly travel across the organization’s five-county WIC footprint and will help eliminate common barriers to care for families like transportation, time, and childcare.

“It's important to recognize that food insecurity is not a personal failure but a systemic issue that requires collective action to address,” said Britney Zwergel, Vice President of Nutrition and Education at Adagio Health. “By fostering a compassionate and understanding environment, we can help reduce the stigma and shame associated with food insecurity, and work toward creating a more inclusive and supportive community for all.”

But providing access to Food Cupboards to feed insecure families is only part of the solution. Teaching those families healthy habits in the kitchen bridges the gap between access and education. Adagio Health’s Teaching Kitchens, located in all five WIC locations, educate participants on how to cook and eat healthier foods as they learn more about overall nutrition in a hands-on environment.

Studies also show that attending nutrition education classes have a positive impact on maternal and family health. A study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism says that mothers are essential in improving children’s nutritional status. New classes focused especially on nutrition education for pregnant and new moms are available now and there is no charge to participate. 

Topics include: “By prioritizing food access and learning in the Teaching Kitchens for pregnant and breastfeeding women, we can help support healthier pregnancies, reduce the risk of complications, and improve maternal and child health outcomes,” said Zwergel.

See the full listing of Teaching Kitchen classes here.