The White House announces a conference on hunger, nutrition and health

President Biden announced on May 4 that the White House will host a conference on hunger, nutrition and health this September.

In a video posted on the White House website, Biden noted that this will be the first White House conference of its kind since 1969.

Biden also said he is committed to taking “brave steps” to end hunger, improve nutrition and physical activity, reduce diet-related illnesses and close disparities around him. He urged the American people to participate in the listening sessions that will take place before the September conference.

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Has been urging presidents to hold a conference at the White House for years. At McGovern’s request, Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican, and Senator Cory Booker, DN.J., and Mike Braun, a Republican. – the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organic and Research – Congress has provided the Department of Health and Human Services with $ 2.5 million to celebrate the event.

While advocates against hunger and nutrition have encouraged the conference, the decision to hold the conference before the November elections has been the subject of discussion. The 1969 conference focused on the need for Americans to get more calories and led to changes in the food stamp program now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and school meals. It also led to the development of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children and other nutrition programs. With the exception of the WIC and, since the Obama administration, school meals, these programs have not focused on the nutritional quality of food. This year’s conference is likely to turn nutritional quality into a central piece, which could split anti-hunger advocates and nutritionists as well as farming groups and hurt Democrats in elections.

The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, made statements today in a joint press release.

Vilsack said: “In order for our country and our children to reach their full potential, we must not only keep food on the table, but we must also ensure that everyone enjoys nutritious and affordable food that contributes to The Biden-Harris administration is committed to tackling food and nutrition insecurity to prevent diet-related diseases that affect our country, address health disparities in neglected communities, and address all The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health will help drive the transformative solutions we aim to enact in the Biden-Harris administration through a government-wide effort. alongside public and private stakeholders.The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proud to be a partner as we work together to achieve the admirable goal of ending hunger and increase healthy eating by 2030 “.

Becerra said: “Facing food insecurity is key to improving our country’s health. Our understanding of science and the social determinants that affect nutrition and physical activity has evolved over the past five decades, and it’s time As we prepare to meet for this conference, HHS, in collaboration with federal agencies, continues to make new discoveries related to healthy eating and physical activity, and is moving forward in “Strengthening access to affordable and healthy food reduces chronic diseases and helps us advance health equity for all Americans.”

In a press release, the White House said: “The Biden-Harris administration has set itself the goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity in the U.S. by 2030 so that less Americans are experiencing diet-related illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.The conference will encourage the action of nutrition advocates and the fight against hunger, food businesses, the health community, local governments, state, territorial and tribal, people with lived experiences, and all Americans, and will launch a national plan that describes how we achieve that goal. “

“Hunger, diet-related illnesses and the disparities surrounding them are affecting millions of Americans, and the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgency of addressing these issues,” said Susan Rice, advisor. internal policy, in the statement. “No one should ask where their next meal will come from. We need to take bold action now, with the government, the private sector, non-profit organizations and communities working together, to build a healthier future for to all Americans. “

Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center, the main pressure group for SNAP, said today: “FRAC is excited that, after more than half a century, there will finally be a second White House Conference focused on ending with hunger in the United States. ”

Guardia continued: “Now is the time to bring advocates, the private sector, local, state, territorial and tribal governments to the U.S. and people with experience at the country’s largest table to determine how we can take advantage of critical gains and Lessons Learned The Last Five Decades to Further Strengthen Our Food Security Network and Eradicate Poverty-Related Hunger in the United States.

“We know that federal nutrition programs alone cannot solve hunger. We need broad-based solutions that address the root causes of hunger, such as inadequate wages and the lack of affordable housing, among other barriers. is that no one should have to choose between putting food on the table and other basic necessities.

“FRAC hopes to work with countless people and organizations at the national, state and community levels to draw attention to the reality of hunger and the political solutions that exist.

“That’s why FRAC is encouraging wide and diverse participation in the upcoming White House listening sessions this summer, which will be open to the public. In the meantime, FRAC will work with advocates and people across the country to share stories about how programs and policies against hunger have provided much-needed nutritional support and can be further enhanced in conference recommendations through the White House website, ”Guardia said. he concluded.

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger President and CEO Abby Leibman said: “By convening a White House conference on such a persistent and widespread issue as hunger, the Biden administration has taken a vital step toward “Long-term policies that can end hunger in the United States. From military families to single mothers to tribal nations, the drivers of hunger are complex and unique, as are the solutions.”

Ty Jones Cox, vice president of food assistance at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, issued a series of tweets praising the decision to hold the conference.

Produce for Better Health Foundation president and CEO Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak applauded the announcement, saying, “Nine out of 10 Americans don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables every day, and with federal food and PBH believes that raising the consumption of fruit and vegetables as a national priority is essential to help improve public health and nutritional security. participate in the White House conference to help transform fruit and vegetable consumption behaviors through innovative consumer research, better access for all, and actionable, inspiring ideas that create new habits. “

Mollie Van Lieu, vice president of nutrition and health for the International Association of Fresh Products, said: “The last time the White House convened experts in food, nutrition and health was in 1969. three generations of consumers since the last cohesive national effort on these issues significant issues Our nutritional challenges have changed dramatically in the last 50 years with more than three-quarters of the country overweight or obese. the importance and urgency of addressing the quality of the diet, especially because the consequences of nutritional insecurity are far-reaching.The fresh produce industry has long advocated for increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, but the “Success will require a bold and coordinated strategy and a public-private partnership. We look forward to bringing industry experience and knowledge to this process as it progresses.”

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Food Systems for the Future, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and World Central Kitchen announced today the formation of the Working Group on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, along with a strategy that accompanies it. Group on Hunger, Nutrition and Health to advise the working group.

“The working group brings together a diverse, non – partisan group of stakeholders to report on the goals of the White House Conference. This effort is not organized or endorsed by the White House, but represents an independent effort to gather voices. across the country to help resolve the central issues of the conference, “Friedman School said in a press release.

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