Nutrition and Food Security | The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

NutritionObesityTileDifferent health care teams at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center offer a variety of programs to help patients improve their nutrition and access to food.

We do this because a healthy diet can help people live longer and reduce their risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and other chronic diseases.

Obesity in particular is a continuing challenge in Franklin County and Ohio. In Franklin County, over one-third of adults (35.7%) are living with obesity. Even more alarming, 1 in 3 children meet overweight or obesity criteria. Obesity increases risk for many other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center partners with patients and local organizations through our Obesity and Nutrition Steering Committee. The committee includes five subgroups with an emphasis on Analytics & Infrastructure, Personalized Medicine, Research, Partnerships and Top Tier Programs.

Top Tier Programs

  • Exercise Is Medicine

    Helping people turn motivation into habit and habit into better health.
  • Diabetes Prevention

    Science-based education to help patients improve their disease management to prevent long-term diabetes complications.
  • Living Well

    A complete wellness program and total health approach to weight management.

Food Security initiatives

  • Ross Heart Hospital Community Garden

    The Ross Heart Hospital Community Garden has become a valuable resource that helps patients, caregivers and community members improve their health and wellness through diet, cooking and nutrition. See upcoming garden events.
  • Food Pantries

    There is a growing need for healthy food options, especially among our impoverished communities, and our nutrition experts provide recipes and culinary and nutrition education to families through our community outreach programs with food banks and food pantries throughout central Ohio, including the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
  • Mid-Ohio Farmacy

    This program was established in partnership with the nation’s seventh-largest food bank, the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, to provide Ohio State patients who suffer from documented food insecurity better access to fresh produce and other nutrient-rich foods. Ohio State staff and providers screen and refer patients to receive a fresh food “prescription” card with a unique Rx ID. This ID provides patients with weekly access to fresh produce at any of the Mid-Ohio Food Collective’s 12 participating pantries in central Ohio.
  • Growing and Growth Collective

    Founded in June 2020 by a group of Near East Side residents concerned with concentrated poverty and food insecurity.

Additional community programs

  • Nutrition education and counseling, health screenings, cooking demonstrations and supplies

    Individuals who may need the most support for better nutrition may not have an existing relationship with a primary care doctor or other medical expert. To encourage better nutrition, Ohio State supports different community groups, including, but not limited to:

    • Uplift Her Women’s Health Day
    • African American Male Wellness Walk
    • Free and reduced-cost clinics and community agencies
    • Health fairs at churches, community events, schools and businesses
    • Columbus Neighborhood Health Center
    • Cooking Matters
    • OSU Student Wellness Center
    • Flying Horse Farm Camps
    • Franklin County Women Infants and Children (WIC)
    • St. Brigids Kildare School
  • Easter Egg Hunt

    School supplies for needy children in lieu of candy in Easter eggs
  • Evaluation of menus for allergens and carbohydrate counting
  • Teaching materials used by clinical nutrition staff for patient education at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Ronald McDonald House

    Preparation of meals for Ronald McDonald House families

Helpful classes and events

Research

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s seven health sciences colleges perform research to improve our understanding of nutrition and obesity at the cellular level, in relation to individual health and how it impacts population health. Examples include:

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