Blue Shield of California joined representatives from the Biden Administration, Members of Congress, and organizations across the country in support of the White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthier Communities on Friday, March 24. During the event, attendees learned about the Biden Administration's call to action for organizations and local communities to embrace this health and wellness mission by committing to meaningful steps in addressing food and nutrition insecurity and improving opportunities for physical activity.
We know that diet-related diseases disproportionately impact lower-income communities because they struggle with food and nutrition insecurity – meaning they do not have stable access to food and limited, if any, access to nutritious foods. Blue Shield has a number of existing initiatives that align with the Biden Administration’s goals, including:
- Providing Blue Shield Promise members and the public access to free food pantries, healthy cooking classes and nutrition classes through our Community Resource Centers.
- Providing eligible Medicare Advantage members a Healthy Grocery Benefit, which provides a monthly allowance to purchase healthy and nutritious foods and produce.
- Scaling Wellvolution’s evidence-based, virtual and in-person programs focused on nutrition, fitness, stress, emotional support, and chronic conditions.
Several new initiatives in the Wellvolution queue for 2023 align with the Administration’s goals, which we are excited to roll out later this year. These offerings would provide members with a new medical benefit and extended virtual services, as well as enhanced educational and training options for healthcare providers.
Blue Shield of California is committed to improving access to whole, nutritious foods to support holistic health and reduce health disparities. We are excited for the opportunity to participate in the White House Challenge and are currently working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation and White House staff to explore commitments. This initiative will extend our work to improve the overall quality of care and reduce the cost of health care through prevention and management of chronic conditions, and we look forward to sharing more about all our efforts later this year.
Angie Kalousek-Ebrahimi is the senior director of Lifestyle Medicine at Blue Shield of California. She is a member of the MindBody Medicine team and lead for the Wellvolution platform, an award-winning digitally based lifestyle medicine and mental health support to prevent, treat and reverse chronic conditions.