Published on October 13, 2022 |
by Critique Gupta
I mentioned those last month White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health which took place for the first time in fifty years. The conference took place on September 28, 2022 in Washington, D.C and streamed live for everyone and everyone.
At the conference, the Biden Harris Administration launched their National Hunger, Nutrition and Health Strategy. This strategy emphasizes the pursuit of five pillars to combat hunger and diet-related diseases in the United States. It was surprising and empowering for POTUS to use the term “diet-related diseases,” thereby acknowledging diet and dietary habits as a critical cause of various diseases that have been prevalent in the United States for decades. The government has recognized the individual effects of poor diet such as poor mental health and increased stress. The government has also recognized the impact of poor nutrition nationally, such as: B. increased healthcare costs.
Personally, I am impressed with the proposed national strategy and a few components caught my eye. First, updating the current nutritional criteria and definitions for all food packaging to include a “healthy” claim on the label. Diet-related diseases disproportionately affect historically underserved populations.
According to this updated criterion, the food industry must meet specific limits for carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in order to market their food products as “healthy”. For example, no grain products with more than 230 mg of sodium may be labeled as “healthy”. If you’ve been following my column, you’ll remember that I wrote about the importance of a sodium to potassium balance.
Nutrition and food security researchers have debated the few resources they have to conduct nutrition and food security research. As part of this strategy, the federal government will seek to allocate more dollars to nutrition and food security research, particularly those focused on equity and access issues.
It is also high time to shift from treatment-based nutritional research to the advancement of prevention-based nutritional research. The Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior is one of several organizations that have made recommendations to the White House for this conference, emphasizing in particular the need to improve nutrition education and expand government health assistance programs to include nutrition-related services. The national strategy proposes testing Medicaid coverage of nutrition education. The strategy also proposes to “improve access to traditional foods”, giving due importance to culturally relevant foods.
Finally, the strategy proposes expanding access to safe places for physical activity. In light of the recent incidents of car hijacking and murder, I believe that the fourth pillar of the strategy, ‘Supporting physical activity for all’, is timely and important. Yes, there are many gyms and recreation centers across the country that people could use, but a significant portion of the population cannot afford these physical activity spaces. The strategy also aims to fund the updating and promotion of the “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.”
The national strategy should be seen as a kickstart to several statewide efforts that would ultimately help the federal government achieve its goals. Did you attend the White House conference? What do you think?