The Biden administration announced $8 billion in pledges to address hunger, nutrition and health issues

Today, President Biden and senior officials hosted White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The goal of the conference is straightforward: to address the issues of food insecurity and diet-related chronic diseases that afflict millions of Americans annually.

The White House has highlighted how nearly $8 billion in private and public sector commitments have been secured and distributed to various causes, ranging from philanthropic efforts to funding new ways to deliver health care to startups dedicated to ending food insecurity.

The White House emphasized five main pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Improving food access and affordability
  • Pillar 2: Integrating Nutrition and Health
  • Pillar 3: Empowering Consumers to Make and Access Healthy Choices
  • Pillar 4: Supporting physical activity for all
  • Pillar 5: Strengthening Nutrition and Food Security Research

Each of these pillars will be supported by initiatives that will be led by a diverse group of business, civic, academic and philanthropic leaders, with the overarching goal of ending hunger and improving health.

For example, popular food delivery company DoorDash has committed to making contributions to Pillar 1 (improving food access and affordability) by partnering with 18 cities to address transportation barriers to accessing healthy food. Mass General Brigham will build educational kitchens to promote healthy meals, nutrition counseling and healthy cooking classes to community members, in an effort to address Pillar 2 (Integrating Nutrition and Health). One of the prominent names that will address Pillar 3 (enabling consumers to make and access healthy choices) is Instacart, a major delivery service company. Instacart will work with the USDA to integrate SNAP and TANF services into its platform in order to provide more families with access to food. MyFitnessPal, the popular fitness and nutrition mobile app, will address Pillar 4 (Supporting Physical Activity for All), by offering free, premium memberships to those at risk for diet-related diseases in order to improve their fitness and nutritional choices. The American Heart Association will partner with the Rockefellar Foundation to address Pillar 5 (Improving Nutrition and Food Security Research) by launching a research initiative with the goal of ultimately achieving health equity and reducing overall health care costs.

It is important to note that the above list is by no means comprehensive; There are many other notable companies under each pillar that have dedicated their time and efforts towards this crucial initiative.

Why is this initiative so important? Because food deserts are incredibly scattered across America. US Department of Agriculture Identifies Food deserts are defined as “low-income census areas with a large number or percentage of the population with low levels of access to retail outlets selling healthy and affordable foods.” she was mentioned That in 2009 alone, 2.3 million “Americans lived more than a mile from a supermarket and didn’t own a car,” posing a major challenge to safe access to healthy food. Until 2017, Sources It notes that “approximately 39.5 million people – 12.8% of the US population – [are] who live in low-income, low-access areas.” In fact, these numbers also represent a large population at risk for chronic disease, poor long-term health outcomes, and ultimately high mortality rates.

There is no doubt that the systemic challenges of uninterrupted access to healthy food and healthy living conditions are systemic, and will require grassroots efforts to bring about truly lasting change. However, initiatives like the above are promising steps forward and offer hope for a better future ahead.

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