UnitedHealthcare, the Share Food Program, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, City Councilman Derek S. Green and other civic leaders convened today for a roundtable discussion about hunger. Food insecurity continues to affect 12.5 percent of Pennsylvania families, and is even more concerning for seniors, with 15.1 percent experiencing hunger in the state, according to America's Health Rankings.
Data from the America's Health Rankings, developed by the United Health Foundation, provide a look at food insecurity and its connection to diseases and wellness. The briefing, presented by Dr. Stephen Cha, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Community & State, was followed by a discussion of emerging trends, best practices to address needs, and progress toward stated goals. A volunteer day of service by UnitedHealthcare employees at the Share Food Program facilities followed the discussion.
"We must do our part to educate people about the complex implications of hunger and facilitate candid conversations about solutions that are working," said Allison Davenport, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Pennsylvania. "We know addressing hunger is a significant priority for Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share knowledge, and to roll up our sleeves and help package food for people who need it."
"Food insecurity has an overwhelming effect on a person's health and development. A healthy, nutrient-dense diet is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle; and for people experiencing health issues, access to nutritious, healthy food can be as effective as medicine," Miller said. "Addressing food insecurity and increasing access to fresh, nutrient-dense foods requires collaboration from all levels of government and our community partners. Together, we can continue to work to ensure that no person has to worry about where they will find their next meal."
"Organizations throughout our city and the state are doing some really innovative things that help people who need it most," said Councilman Green. "I appreciate the opportunity to work with leaders throughout the state and in Philadelphia to continue to address needs that exist in our communities."
"We live in a city of great food, great talent, great resources and beautiful buildings; yet just a few blocks over you are in a neighborhood where people are working but not making a living wage, where people are going to a food cupboard to get food to feed their families, where families have health related illnesses due to food insecurity," said Share Food Program Executive Director Steveanna Wynn. "It is time as a country and a city that we acknowledge that the underserved live and work among us, and we have a joint responsibility to improve the lives of all people and value our communities."
Some of the data that were shared include that Pennsylvania:
America's Health Rankings reports are developed to promote greater public engagement concerning Americans' health, and provides data-driven insights to inform action at the local, state and national levels.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.
The Share Food Program is a nonprofit organization serving a regional network of community organizations engaged in food distribution, education and advocacy. Each day, Share manages complex food distribution operations, to bring a steady, reliable stream of food relief to more than 505 volunteer-led food cupboards. Last year, Share brought 27 million pounds of emergency food relief to low-income Philadelphia residents facing hunger. For more information, please visit www.sharefoodprogram.org or call 215-223-2220.