September 28, 2023 – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has been leading efforts to improve the health and nutrition status of Americans since our founding in 1917 and is thrilled that other partners have come to the table to help end hunger, improve nutrition and health, and reduce health inequities, by supporting the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The Academy commends the Biden-Harris Administration for applying an all-of-government approach for this effort, identifying resources and facilitating connections to move the goals forward.
To set the stage for major policy change, the White House released its National Strategy ahead of the historic 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, which included recommendations from the Academy:
- Improving food access and affordability
- Integrating nutrition and health
- Empowering all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices
- Supporting physical activity for all
- Enhancing nutrition and food security research
The Academy remains committed to improving the nation’s health and advocating for policies that support the five pillars in the National Strategy, with Academy members playing a key role in increasing access to healthful foods, shaping the public’s food choices, improving people’s nutritional status, and preventing and treating chronic diseases.
The Academy has continued our mission to accelerate improvements in global health and well-being through food and nutrition, sharing our organizational commitments for the White House Conference one year ago that would advance our vision of a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition. The Academy is proud to report on our progress and remains resolute in our dedication to working with others to attain the crucial goals:
- School meals are an incredibly important asset in providing nutritious food for our nation’s children; they can contribute more than half of a child's daily caloric intake. School nutrition programs are the most healthful places for children to eat. The Academy is committed to Healthy School Meals for All, so that all children have access to healthy meals as a part of their school day. The Academy's School Nutrition Services Dietetic Practice Group developed a video highlighting the importance of Healthy School Meals for All.
- The Academy joined the national Healthy School Meals for All Coalition to work with other organizations to move the needle on this initiative.
- The Academy continues to lead advocacy efforts for adequate funding for Child Nutrition Programs.
- The Academy provides input to USDA efforts to improve the nutrition content of school meals and of foods provided through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
- The Academy Foundation has continued moving toward its goal to award $1 million in scholarship funding for the 2025-2026 academic year, including a significant portion of funds allocated for students who have lived experiences outside of traditionally recognized academic and professional indicators of success, including experiences that may position them to make much-needed and unique contributions to the field, such as overcoming adversity. For the 2023-2024 academic year, the Academy Foundation awarded over $800,000 to more than 290 recipients.
- Championing legislation that would expand access to medical nutrition therapy for Medicare beneficiaries, the Academy has led efforts for the reintroduction of the following bills in the 118th U.S. Congress:
- The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act would improve access to health care and reduce costs by allowing registered dietitian nutritionists and other qualified professionals to provide services and treatments that are effective in addressing the obesity epidemic. TROA would provide clinically effective and cost-effective solutions for nearly 40% of Medicare beneficiaries and have positive implications for all Americans with obesity.
- Passage of the Expanding Access to DSMT Act would: expand access by permitting a wider array of providers to refer Medicare beneficiaries to DSMT; improve equitable access to DSMT by removing patient cost sharing; increase utilization by eliminating the one-year expiration date for the initial 10 hours of DSMT coverage; and allow DSMT and MNT to be furnished and billed for on the same day.
- While it has not yet been reintroduced in the 118th U.S. Congress, the Academy continues to lead advocacy efforts for the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act, which would: expand Medicare coverage for MNT to beneficiaries with chronic diseases including prediabetes, obesity, hypertension, cancer, malnutrition and more; authorize nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists and psychologists to refer their patients for MNT; and promote health equity for racial and ethnic minority communities that have a higher burden of chronic disease.
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