04/28/2021 - U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (Ill.) and 10 members of Congress have urged House Appropriations Committee leadership to include $310 million in funding to address racial disparities in nutrition and access to health care in the next fiscal year budget. In partnership with the National Association for Equal Opportunity, the Academy worked with Rep. Kelly to champion a letter to leaders emphasizing the importance of nutrition and dietetics professionals in achieving health equity and reducing racial disparities for communities of color.
African Americans account for just 2% of registered dietitian nutritionists and Hispanics only 3%. Funding to support diversity in the dietetics and nutrition field will help address health inequities for minority communities, which have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19. The letter notes that, "African Americans are 13% of the U.S. population but account for a high percent of hospitalizations for COVID-19. In addition to myriad socioeconomic factors, we believe that a key contributor to the racial and ethnic disparities seen in COVID-19 deaths is a combination of reduced access to health care, healthful foods and safe opportunities to be active. Poor nutrition contributes to the development of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure and also mediates the inflammatory and immune response that increases the likelihood of poor COVID-19 outcomes."
The Academy, in partnership with other allied organizations, will continue to promote and advocate for policies and programs that are aimed at fostering health equity. Learn more about the Academy's advocacy efforts on this important issue.