TUESDAY, Sept. 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- The White House on Tuesday released a national plan to end hunger by 2030, an ambitious goal that would be accomplished largely by expanding monthly food benefits for poor Americans.
The plan would also aim to encourage healthy eating and physical activity so fewer people would be diagnosed with diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other diet-related diseases. Part of that strategy would include expanding Medicaid and Medicare access to obesity and nutrition counseling.
“The consequences of food insecurity and diet-related diseases are significant, far-reaching, and disproportionately impact historically underserved communities,” Biden said in a statement outlining the new strategy. “Yet, food insecurity and diet-related diseases are largely preventable, if we prioritize the health of the nation.”
The announcement came as Biden hosts a conference this week on hunger, nutrition and health, the first held by the White House since 1969, the Associated Press reported. That conference, under President Richard Nixon, prompted a greatly expanded food stamps program and gave rise to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which provides women with parenting advice, breastfeeding support and food assistance.
Still, cuts to federal programs and significant changes in how food and farming systems are run have prompted declines in access to food, the AP reported.
Ten percent of U.S. households suffered food insecurity in 2021, meaning they were uncertain they would have the resources to feed their family.
For the national plan to succeed, Biden needs the backing of both Congress and the business community. This week's conference will highlight the need for access to better, healthier food and exercise.
“We have learned so much more about nutrition and the role that healthy eating plays in how our kids perform in the classroom, and about nutrition and its linkages to disease prevention,” Biden said.
Under the new White House plan, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility would be expanded, children would get better access to free meals, and summer benefits would apply to more schoolchildren. All of these changes would require the blessing of Congress.
The plan also calls for moving nutrition labeling to the front of food packaging to help Americans make better nutritional choices, expanding SNAP incentives to certain fruits and vegetables, providing more programs to encourage people to exercise, and providing more funding for nutrition research.
Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture for more on food insecurity.
SOURCES: White House, news release, Sept. 27, 2022; Associated Press
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