Food may be the best medicine to improve a nation’s health

It has been more than 50 years since the Food, Nutrition and Health Conference was held at the White House in 1969, which led to the creation and expansion of our country’s main food support systems – the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP), the National School Lunch Program and the Special Complementary Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Over the years, our understanding of the role of nutrition and food security in overall health has expanded significantly.

With the second Hunger, Nutrition, and Health Conference scheduled for September 28 in Washington, DC, the health sector has a chance to make a meaningful contribution to the discussion and positively impact the health of the more than 42 million food insecure Americans today.

When people are hungry or don’t have access to nutritious food, they are less likely to get or stay healthy. Food insecurity is directly linked to poor health, including higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Widespread chronic health problems caused by hunger are estimated to increase healthcare costs by $160 billion a year, and due to racial inequalities associated with hunger and nutrition, food insecurity is also responsible for the health inequalities that are so enduring. to our country.

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