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  • Writer's pictureDavid Beckmann

A Year Since the White House Hunger Conference

On September 28, 2022, President Biden convened the White House Hunger Conference. He unveiled a National Strategy to end hunger and reduce diet-related disease by 2030.

Part of the national strategy requires legislative action. The administration successfully worked with Congress on changes that are will provide summer meals to many more children. But Congress failed to extend the expanded Child Tax Credit, and House Republicans are now pushing for deep cuts in WIC and other low-income programs.

But part of the Biden-Harris plan is an outline of strategic actions that companies and non-profit organizations can take, and the administration has done a good job of promoting private-sector commitments.

What most excites me about the White House action plan is a long list of administrative actions that would reduce hunger and diet-related disease. In the run-up to the conference, the White House pushed all the departments and agencies of government to consider ways they could help achieve the President's ambitious goal of ending hunger and reducing diet-related disease by 2030.

These were administrative actions that don't require congressional approval, and the Biden administration is following up on its commitments. Some examples to date:

  • Approved large-scale Medicaid tests of ways that Medicaid can support improvements in nutrition.

  • Invited proposals for research on food as medicine.

  • Took steps to (a) make school meals even healthier and expand access to free meals to more students and (b) make it easier for mothers to use WIC and allow them to buy fruits and vegetables with their WIC benefits.

  • Took steps to reduce sodium in the food supply and update the criteria for when foods and beverages can use the claim “healthy” on their packaging.

  • Took steps to improve the front-of-package label for foods and beverages.

  • Expanded food as medicine programs at Veterans Administration health care facilities and launched a food as medicine program in the Indian Health Service.

My one disappointment is that the White House hasn't yet done very much to publicize the administration's serious commitment to progress against hunger and diet-related diseases.

I hope the President will talk about what he's achieved on this front as he explains "Bidenomics."


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