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'An historic opportunity to address food scarcity, nutrition insecurity and insufficient physical activity…’ White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health scheduled for Sept 28

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags White House hunger SNAP WIC

The Biden administration has set a date – Sept 28 - for the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health since 1969.

At the conference​ - ​which will be held in-person in Washington, D.C. and live-streamed - the Biden administration will announce a national strategy "that identifies steps the government will take and catalyzes the public and private sectors to address the intersections between food, hunger, nutrition, and health.​"

While there isn’t a public docket where you can read comments and recommendations submitted to the administration, the strategy has been informed by a series of 'listening sessions' featuring federal agencies, corporations, health care, conservation and environmental groups, hunger and nutrition groups and school and education groups held in recent weeks. It has five pillars:

  1. Improve food access and affordability​: This might involve expanding eligibility for and increasing participation in food assistance programs and improved transportation to places where food is available.
  2. Integrate nutrition and health:​ This might involve working with the healthcare system to better integrate nutrition into healthcare. 
  3. Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices​: Foster environments that enable all people to easily make informed healthy choices, increase access to healthy food, encourage healthy workplace and school policies, and invest in public messaging and education campaigns.
  4. Support physical activity for all​: Make it easier for people to be more physically active.
  5. Enhance nutrition and food security research​: Improve nutrition metrics, data collection and research.

Nancy Brown, CEO at the American Heart Association, noted that federal programs including SNAP, WIC, and the Summer Food Service program that emerged out of the 1969 conference have been “integral to addressing hunger​,” but said greater emphasis is now needed on nutrition.

“We must modernize these policies and programs to also focus on food quality, so people have access to enough nutritious food. We also should explore emerging strategies including ‘food is medicine’ programs that aim to increase access to healthy food across the care continuum.

“Improving diet and increasing physical activity are two of the most important behaviors to optimize our cardiovascular health and well-being. The White House conference presents an historic opportunity to address food scarcity, nutrition insecurity and insufficient physical activity in ways that can achieve equitable health for all.” 

Former Politico reporter Helena Bottemiller Evich has collected a series of comments from key stakeholders at her new Foodfix publication HERE​.


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