Dr. Zoey Goore
Highlighting the Paradox of Hunger and Obesity

“It’s estimated that 80 percent of health happens outside of a medical facility. To make a difference in our patients’ lives, we need to meet them where they are and improve environments so it’s easy to be healthy,” says Dr. Zoey Goore, a Sacramento-based pediatrician, explaining her reasons for participating in the Champion Provider Fellowship.

What keeps her up at night is the alarming prevalence of hunger and, ironically, obesity that she sees in her young patients. In the Sacramento area, one of the richest agricultural areas in the country, one out of four children experience times during the month when there isn’t enough food to eat. Unfortunately, unhealthy food is the cheapest to buy, which is why she and other health care providers regularly see the paradox of obesity with the realities of hunger. “I now screen my patients for hunger. Five years ago it wouldn’t have crossed my mind,” she says.

Dr. Goore also brings the issue of hunger to the whole community through her innovative Reverse Food Truck. With a community benefits grant from Kaiser Permanente and donations from family and friends, she and her husband Richard purchased a food truck in 2015. The Reverse Food Truck is decorated with large, vibrant, colorful pictures of vegetables and fruits, and the slogan: We don’t make food, we take food.

“The Champion Provider Fellowship inspired me to call attention to food insecurity through media interviews and discussions with community change leaders, and health care and hunger organizations.”

Dr. Zoey Goore, Sacramento County, Pediatrician

Dr. Goore collects nutritious food from shoppers at farmers markets to donate to food banks, pantries and underserved schools. She tells the story of dropping off fresh fruit at a local school where 100 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced price lunch. Two girls who helped unload the truck asked if they could each have a peach because they never have fruit at home. “When the girls bit into the fruit, they had the biggest smiles on their faces and went to get their friends to share the rare fruit.”

The Reverse Food Truck earned considerable visibility in local media outlets and online platforms, including KCRA 3, FOX 40, Sacramento Bee, Look Inside KP and Girls on the Grid. Dr. Goore is currently looking for other ways to use the Reverse Food Truck to address food insecurity and to help families.

California Department of Public Health, Champions for Change and UCSF