Government Relations & Washington Update
White House Announces Details for Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
On August 29th, the White House announced that the Biden-Harris Administration will host the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on September 28th. The Administration’s goal is to “End hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.” The Administration will also release a National Strategy with actions the federal government will take to drive solutions to these challenges. The conference will focus on five pillars:
- Improve food access and affordability
- Integrate nutrition and health
- Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices
- Support physical activity for all
- Enhance nutrition and food security research
The pillars are meant to help identify actions that can be taken by all parts of society — including the federal government; local, state, territory, and Tribal governments; nonprofit and community groups; and private companies.
AAEA has actively engaged with the White House, participating in stakeholder listening sessions and meetings through the conference planning process. AAEA also recently sent a letter to the White House highlighting the importance of economic research to supporting the five pillars. In the letter, AAEA makes the following recommendations:
1. Food insecurity: Strengthen and promote applied research on food insecurity, those factors affecting it, and the role of food assistance programs in mitigating it. Promote research focusing on food security among disadvantaged populations, especially regarding the nutritional quality of food consumption.
2. Food prices: Promote the economic analysis of how prices of foods and other goods and services (and consumers’ responsiveness to them) affect consumers, in particularly underserved households, and their decisions to acquire nutritious food baskets, especially as it relates to federal food assistance programs.
3. Food access and affordability: Increase support for rigorous quantitative research to test the effectiveness of current and proposed mechanisms to facilitate and encourage access to nutritious food. Policy tools falling under this umbrella include tools to reduce consumer costs to access healthy foods, ensure the supply of healthy food options across all settings (including feeding programs), and facilitate the procurement of fruits and vegetables in schools.
4. Nutritional education and information: Allocate adequate funds to evaluate and assess the effectiveness of existing and proposed tools to inform and enable healthier consumer food choices, such as early childhood nutrition education programs, agricultural literacy programs, and sensible and coherent food labeling.
5. Data: Continue to support the collection of data needed to generate validated and longitudinal measures related to food access and insecurity, nutrition, and health. In addition, insightful and policy-relevant future research would greatly benefit from improved data harmonization across federal, state, and local agencies and data sharing with the research community.
AAEA will continue to engage with the White House and advocate for the role of economic research and data to help accomplish the five pillars and the National Strategy for hunger, nutrition and health.