Nutrition plays a critical role in every stage of our lives. From conception through pregnancy, birth, childhood and into older age, good nutrition supports health and wellness, improving quality of life. From the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to the National School Lunch Act, our government has taken measures to protect the nutrition status of our children. Since 1965, the Older Americans Act has been the primary vehicle for delivering social and nutrition programs to older individuals. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports these programs that help keep Americans healthy throughout their lives.
Prenatal and Maternal Health: WIC's high rate of return on investment has given the program Congressional support. Academy members are key to the success of WIC, providing effective nutrition education and MNT.
Early Childhood Nutrition: Food and nutrition programs create a safety net that ensures that children at risk for poor nutritional intakes have access to a safe, adequate and nutritious food supply, and nutrition screening, assessment and intervention.
School Age Students: In 2010, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act was passed, which provides significant changes in school meals. This historic piece of legislation enhances the nutritional quality of food served in school-based and preschool settings, expands the Afterschool Meal Program to all 50 states, supports improvements to direct certification for school meals and makes "competitive foods" offered or sold in schools more nutritious.
Nutrition for Older Adults: Growing older generally increases nutritional risk. As primary prevention, nutrition helps promote health and functionality and affects the quality of life in older adults. Although many older adults are enjoying longer and more healthful lives in their own homes, others, especially those with health disparities and poor nutritional status, would benefit from greater access to food and nutrition programs and services.