Congresswoman Chile Pingree (D-Maine) is urging the Biden administration to incorporate “food is medicine” proposals into the White House podium for the upcoming conference on hunger, nutrition, and health. Pingree and Representatives Kim Shearer and Derek Kilmer detailed the important role that food interventions play in medicine in addressing hunger and improving nutrition and health.
“Bad diets are a major contributor to the development of chronic diseases, often having a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged and rural communities. Several studies have shown that interventions to improve access and affordability of healthy and nutritious foods are effective, improve health outcomes and reduce health care spending. , ” Books by Pingree, Sherrill, and Kilmer.
They continued, “This conference, the first of its kind in more than 50 years, represents an important opportunity to catalyze the work of the entire government, engage with partners across the country, and ensure that all Americans have reliable access to healthy food.” “We urge you to incorporate food is medicine into the White House platform for conference. We appreciate your leadership as we strive to enact policies that will end hunger and improve nutrition and health across the country.”
The full speech is available online here and transcribed below.
On Wednesday, September 28, the Biden-Harris administration will host the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. It was the first and only government-led National Conference to Address Hunger in 1969, which led to transformative legislation to combat hunger in America, and to create critical programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women and Infants. And Children, also known as WIC.
Pingree, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is a co-founder of the bipartisan Food and Medicine Working Group, defended an amendment to the fiscal year 2022 public spending bill that provided $2.5 million for the White House Food Conference. The White House says the conference will focus on ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 to help reduce the number of Americans suffering from diet-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
Pingree is one of the original sponsors of Experimental law for medically designed homemade mealsAn experimental study to deliver nutritious, clinically tailored meals to medical recipients addresses the critical link between diet and chronic disease.
In April 2021, Pingree reintroduced the Local Kids Eating Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to support local and regional food systems and encourage healthy meal options among school-age children.
It is estimated that 62% of adults in the United States over the age of 65 have one or more chronic conditions. Poor diet contributes to COVID risks, especially for those with underlying chronic health conditions, A growing body of research shows that clinically designed meals can be a cost-effective strategy for improving health outcomes.
The number of undernourished people in the world has risen since 2015 and reached the levels seen in 2010. Protracted conflict, extreme weather events, economic slowdown and recession are key factors reversing progress made over more than a decade. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 more acutely.
Pingree launched its first bipartisan Food Recovery Caucus in 2018, and included provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill to create the USDA’s first full-time Food Loss and Waste Connection, a pilot program for composting and food waste reduction, and a Local Agriculture Marketplace Waste Reduction Program (LAMP) in farm.
It also introduced and co-sponsored several bills to combat food waste and food insecurity, including the Food History Label Act, Searching for food lawSchool Food Refund Act, Zero Waste LawAnd the Compost LawAgricultural Flexibility Act, National Food Waste Reduction Act, And the Food Donation Improvement Act. Many of these initiatives were included in the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis for the first time ever comprehensive report on climate change.
Dear Ambassador Rice,
We look forward to the upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health and appreciate the opportunity to share input on the topics that need to be addressed. As you develop management objectives for the conference, we urge you to consider the important role food interventions play in medicine in addressing hunger, nutrition and health and advanced strategies for integrating them across the federal government.
Food is medicine that seeks to enhance the role of access to food and nutrition in maintaining good health and preventing disease. Poor diets are a major contributor to the development of chronic diseases, often with a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged and rural communities. Several studies have shown that interventions to improve access to and affordability of healthy and nutritious foods are effective, improve health outcomes and reduce health care spending.
A broad coalition of stakeholders comprising health care providers and payers, food retailers, foundations and community organizations, has developed a wide range of programs that advance the idea of food is medicine, from medically designed meals to the production of prescription programs. As members of Congress, we strongly support expanding access to these models to allow more Americans to benefit from them.
Clinically designed meals, for example, can be customized by medical providers to meet a patient’s needs based on their condition and have been shown to reduce inpatient hospitalizations and emergency department visits. HR 5370, the Clinically Designed Home Meals Pilot Act, would create a Medicare pilot program to improve access for beneficiaries and further demonstrate the value of the service. Since more than half of adults in the United States over the age of 65 have one or more chronic conditions, the development of this legislation and similar efforts will have a significant impact on the at-risk population.
Produced prescriptions provide low-cost or free access to fruits and vegetables to Americans with food insecurity or diet-related health risks. The 2018 Farm Bill created the Production Recipes Program under the USDA Nutrition Incentive Program, which supports community partners in demonstrating and evaluating the impact of these programs. Recent appropriations laws have expanded these efforts, including pilot programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service.
This conference, the first of its kind in more than 50 years, represents an important opportunity to catalyze the work of the entire government, engage with partners across the country, and ensure that all Americans have reliable access to healthy food. We urge you to incorporate food is medicine into the White House platform for the conference. We value your leadership as we strive to enact policies that will end hunger and improve nutrition and health across the country.
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