A $4.4 million grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation will help put fresh fruits and vegetables on the dinner tables of Indiana seniors. The foundation awarded the grant earlier this week to the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging and the IAAA Education Institute.
The foundation awarded the grant earlier this week to the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging and the IAAA Education Institute.
“This grant will help address food insecurity in Indiana and is just one part of up to $30 million our parent company’s foundation plans to invest over the next three years to support food as medicine programs across the U.S.,” Beth Keyser, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana, said in a statement. “As an organization, we take a broad, holistic view of health and that means working with community partners to address hunger and other social factors that prevent individuals from living a healthy life.”
A 2021 Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults found about half of older adults polled in the Hoosier State reported not having access to affordable, quality food. Under the grant, area agencies on aging will partner with local food banks, food pantries and producers to obtain the fresh produce. The fruits and vegetables will be delivered to seniors at senior meal sites or as part of home-delivered meal programs. Seniors will also receive tips on how to prepare healthy meals.
Adults who eat a healthy diet have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy eating can also help people with chronic diseases better manage those conditions and avoid complications. A number of Medicare Advantage plans have added food and fresh produce as a non-medical supplemental benefit. In fact, food and fresh produce was the most widely offered benefit by MA plans in 2022, according to ATI Advisory.