More than 50 years since the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health, the U.S. has yet to end hunger and is facing an urgent, nutrition-related health crisis-the rising prevalence of diet-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and certain cancers. The consequences of food insecurity and diet-related diseases are significant, far reaching, and disproportionately impact historically underserved communities. Yet, food insecurity and diet-related diseases are largely preventable, if we prioritize the health of the nation.
The Biden-Harris Administration envisions an America where no one wonders whether they will have enough money to put food on the table, where the healthy food choice is the easier choice, and where everyone has the same opportunity to be physically active. Transformative programs, policies, and system changes are needed within and outside government to achieve this vision. There is no silver bullet to address these complex issues, and there is no overnight fix. Making progress requires collective, sustained action and mobilization across every segment of society. That is why President Biden announced a goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases- while reducing related health disparities.
To advance the President’s goal-and build on the federal government’s existing work to address hunger and diet-related diseases-this strategy identifies ambitious and achievable actions the Biden-Harris Administration will pursue across five pillars:
- Improving food access and affordability, including by advancing economic security; increasing access to free and nourishing school meals; providing Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) benefits to more children; and expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility to more underserved populations;
- Integrating nutrition and health, including by working with Congress to pilot coverage of medically tailored meals in Medicare; testing Medicaid coverage of nutrition education and other nutrition supports using Medicaid section 1115 demonstration projects; and expanding Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries’ access to nutrition and obesity counseling;
- Empowering all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices, including by proposing to develop a front-of-package labeling scheme for food packages; proposing to update the nutrition criteria for the “healthy” claim on food packages; expanding incentives for fruits and vegetables in SNAP; facilitating sodium reduction in the food supply by issuing longer-term, voluntary sodium targets for industry; and assessing additional steps to reduce added sugar consumption, including potential voluntary targets;
- Supporting physical activity for all, including by expanding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program to all states and territories; investing in efforts to connect people to parks and other outdoor spaces; and funding regular updates to and promotion of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans; and
- Enhancing nutrition and food security research, including by bolstering funding to improve metrics, data collection, and research to inform nutrition and food security policy, particularly on issues of equity and access; and implementing a vision for advancing nutrition science.
The federal government cannot end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases alone. The private sector; state, Tribal, local, and territory governments; academia; and nonprofit and community groups must act as well. This strategy details Calls to Action for all these entities to do their part. Taken together, these collective efforts will make a difference and move us closer to achieving the 2030 goal.
To read the full national strategy, click here.