The importance of consistent access to nutritious food for building, sustaining, and maintaining health is well known. The accessibility of high-quality food is undermined by issues including low income, healthy food sources that are inaccessible (e.g. so-called food deserts), and food shortages, among others. Physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals often witness the negative health consequences of food insecurity, and may detect food insecurity through routine screening or incidentally. Health providers may act as gatekeepers to social assistance programs, food stamps, food banks and pantries and other services that help patients access food. However, the existence and effectiveness of these interventions have not been systematically reviewed. This systematic review will report on 1) existing interventions to address insecurity in primary care and 2) their effectiveness.
We anticipate that describing existing interventions and their effectiveness can point us in the direction of which food programs are most effective at reducing food insecurity for future interventions targeted at addressing this determinant of health .