The Biden administration's National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health report, and its prioritization of nutrition security, is an important step in addressing health equity and achieving the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' mission of accelerating improvements in global health and well-being through food and nutrition.
"The National Strategy closely parallels the priorities and advocacy of the Academy," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Ellen R. Shanley, MBA, RDN, CD, FAND.
The document was released September 27 in advance of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, scheduled for September 28.
Numerous recommendations submitted by the Academy, following years of advocacy, have been incorporated into the document — from free, healthful school meals to a strengthened national commitment to nutrition research, and from diversifying the nutrition workforce to increasing access to nutrition services.
"The Academy and our members are committed to creating a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition," Shanley said. "It is beyond gratifying to see the extent of the Biden administration's similar commitment to ending hunger, and the Academy looks forward to collaborating with health professionals, civic, community and faith leaders across all segments of the population to ensure nutrition security for all."
"The food and agriculture industries play a significant role in our food system making partnerships critical for policy change and we look forward to stewarding these connections," Shanley said.
The National Strategy addresses five pillars:
- 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
"These strategies could not come at a more opportune time, as the country and the world start to regain our stride following the crippling effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn heightened awareness of food insecurity and links between nutrition, chronic disease and health," said Shanley, who has been invited by the Biden administration to attend the White House Conference. "The Academy is proud to see so many of our recommendations showcased in the report."
The National Strategy lists specific areas in which the Academy and registered dietitian nutritionists are positioned to play a leading and transformational role — including increased access to nutrition security; expanding Medicare beneficiaries' access to nutrition and obesity counseling; investing in a diversified health provider workforce; and strengthened research in nutrition science.
"Increased nutrition knowledge and services will be crucial in harnessing, in the words of the National Strategy, 'collective, sustained action and mobilization across every segment of society' that registered dietitian nutritionists are uniquely able to provide," Shanley said.
Shanley will host a town hall discussion for Academy members on September 29 to further explore ideas and concepts from the White House Conference, and to mobilize more than 112,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics professionals who will be instrumental in achieving the policy goals of the conference in the near and long term.
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