More than 50 years since the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health, the US has yet to end hunger and faces an urgent nutrition-related health crisis—the increasing prevalence of diet-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and certain cancers. The consequences of food insecurity and nutrition-related diseases are significant, far-reaching and disproportionately affect historically underserved communities. However, 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 questions whether they will have enough money to put food on the table, where healthy food choices are easier and where everyone has the same opportunity to be physically active. Transformative programs, policies, and system changes within and outside of government are needed to achieve this vision. There is no silver bullet for solving these complex problems and no overnight solutions. Achieving progress requires collective, sustainable action and mobilization in all segments of society. That’s why President Biden announced a goal to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases— while reducing associated health disparities.
To further the President’s cause—and build on the federal government’s existing work to address hunger and nutrition-related disease—this strategy identifies ambitious and achievable actions that the Biden-Harris administration will implement through five pillars:
- Improving food access and affordability, including improving economic security; increasing access to free and nutritious school meals; providing summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) benefits to multiple children; and expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility to underserved populations;
- Integrating nutrition and health, including working with Congress to pilot coverage of medically tailored meals in Medicare; testing Medicaid coverage of nutrition education and other nutrition support 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 proposing to develop a front-of-pack labeling scheme for food packages; proposing to update the nutritional criteria for the “healthy” claim on food packages; expanding SNAP fruit and vegetable incentives; facilitating sodium reduction in the food supply by issuing long-term, voluntary sodium targets for industry; and assessment of additional steps to reduce consumption of added sugar, including potential voluntary targets;
- Supporting physical activity for all, including expanding the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (CDC’s) National Physical Activity and Nutrition Program to all states and territories; investing in efforts to connect people to parks and other open spaces; and funding regular updates and promotions Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans; and
- Advancing research on nutrition and food safety, including strengthening funding to improve metrics, data collection and research to inform nutrition policy and food security, particularly issues of equity and access; and implementing a vision to advance the science of nutrition.
The federal government alone cannot stop hunger and reduce diet-related diseases. Private sector; state, tribal, local and territorial governments; academy; and non-profit and community groups must also act. This strategy details the calls to action for all these entities to do their part. Taken together, these collective efforts will make a difference and bring us closer to achieving the 2030 goal.
To read the full national strategy, click here.