Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management

Grantee Name

United Neighborhood Houses

Funding Area

Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management

Publication Date

February 2013

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

May 1, 2010 – April 30, 2011

Settlement houses have long fulfilled a much-needed role in some of New York City’s highest-need neighborhoods, providing comprehensive services to children, families, and older adults.

In many of these same locations, residents are disproportionately affected by life-threatening—albeit preventable—diseases. Studies have shown that some of these chronic medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, are intrinsically linked to poor eating habits. Facing a shortage of healthy food options in their neighborhoods, many of New York City’s poorest residents inevitably develop these diet-related diseases over the long term. Furthermore, residents grappling with basic concerns, such as how to afford putting food on the table, have limited time to devote to healthy food preparation or nutrition.

All of these factors combined contribute to New Yorkers having significantly higher death rates from cardiovascular disease and diabetes than Americans overall.

To combat these conditions, NYHealth awarded United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) a grant in April 2010 to train a number of its member agencies’ cooks in preparing nutritious, fresh meals and ultimately improve the health of New York City’s most vulnerable residents.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Trained staff at 30 programs within 17 UNH member agencies;
  • Trained more than 50 cooks and other kitchen staff throughout the training series;
  • Twenty program administrators attended the introductory session, which focused on administrative aspects of the project;
  • Served nearly 1.8 million meals to 8,000 individuals over the course of the year through its participating programs; and
  • Created instructional materials and recipes for participants and children, families, or older adults.
  • Administered satisfaction surveys to gather feedback from meal program participants on healthier menus. At the end of the training series, the great majority of participants (94%) indicated that they feel “very confident” or “somewhat confident” about their ability to implement the changes discussed in the training program.
  • Participants reported changes in food purchasing and menu development, reflecting increased use of whole grants and improvements in the nutritional quality of meals served.