Academy Submits Testimony for Fiscal Year 2019 HHS Funding

Person writing letter

Testimony Prepared by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Submitted for the record to the United States Senate and House Committees on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Concerning the Department of Health and Human Services

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics appreciates the opportunity to submit outside witness testimony for the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill. The Academy, which represents over 100,000 credentialed professionals throughout the nation and is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, is committed to improving the nation’s health through healthy and safe food choices. As Congress begins work on FY 2019 appropriations, we urge you to invest in federal nutrition programs, which will provide an investment that will help prevent costly health care expenses due to chronic diseases.

Administration for Community Living Funding

The Academy supports the appropriation of $996.7 million for the Title III Nutrition Programs of the Older Americans Act, which is a $100 million increase from the FY18 omnibus levels. These nutrition services help millions of older adults receive the necessary meals to help them stay healthy and decrease the risk for disability.

The Academy also supports allocating $19.8 million for Preventive Health Services under the Older Americans Act. These services support activities that educate older adults on the importance of healthy lifestyles and promote healthy behaviors. We also support allocating $8 million to the Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs within the Administration on Aging, which is a low-cost, evidence-based disease prevention model that engages older Americans to be able to manage their diseases, which improves their health statuses and reduces more costly care such as hospital care and readmissions.

The Academy supports allocating $31.2 million for Alaska Natives and Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services, the same as the FY 2018 enacted level. These funds will provide approximately 6.1 million meals and 760,000 rides for Alaska Natives and Native American seniors to critical daily activities such as meal sites, medical appointments, and grocery stores.

The Academy supports the appropriations of $12 million for Elder Rights Support Activities. This will allow for the expansion of ACL's Elder Justice/Adult Protective Services activities to help fulfill the promise of the Elder Justice Act of 2009. Funding will support the implementation of a nationwide Adult Protective Services data system, and fund research and evaluation activities. This program also provides funding for resource centers and activities that provide information, training, and technical assistance on elder rights issues to the national Aging Services Network.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Funding

The Academy supports a funding level of $8.445 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Investing in evidence-based nutrition and public health programs is vital to our nation's security, and the federal investment in public health has failed to keep pace with inflation. Increasing CDC's budget is critical to ensuring that the nation’s health is protected from both communicable and non-communicable disease threats.

Chronic diseases, due in part to lifestyle choices, account for seven out of 10 causes of death in the U.S. As of 2012, almost half of adults had one or more chronic health conditions. We encourage funding the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at $92.420 million, which would allow the 18 remaining states and Washington D.C. to receive enhanced Section 1305 funding, and would fund two additional High Obesity sites. This funding level includes $8 million for breastfeeding support efforts, and $4 million for Early Child Care initiatives.

National Institutes of Health Funding

The Academy supports allocating $2.165 billion to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. NIDDK supports discovery, clinical and translational research, as well as targeted training, aimed at understanding the impact of nutrition on diabetes, kidney and digestive diseases. The requested funding increases show a commitment to investing in nutrition research to prevent chronic diseases, and we applaud this commitment. NIDDK also is leading the Nutrition Research Task Force, and the Academy applauds this continued partnership.