On September 28, Charlotte Haberaecker, the president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America, and I joined hundreds of elected officials, advocates and activists, and leaders of business, faith, and philanthropy from across America in Washington, DC at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health—the first such gathering since 1969.
The previous conference directly led to the creation of groundbreaking programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—commonly known as “food stamps”—and the goals for this conference and the national strategy it rolled out are no less ambitious: ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases— while reducing related health disparities.
Alongside representatives of other nonprofit organizations and every branch of government, we participated in small group sessions aimed at generating actionable ideas across the five major pillars of the new national strategy that can help make these goals a reality:
- Improving food access and affordability;
- Integrating nutrition and health;
- Empowering all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices;
- Supporting physical activity for all; and
- Enhancing nutrition and food security research.
We were also privileged to hear from President Biden himself about how a lack of access to healthy, safe and affordable food and places to be physically active contributes to hunger, diet-related diseases and health disparities. Other dynamic speakers throughout the day-long session included Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. We ended our day with a call to action from Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, who led a conversation with Gen Z nonprofit leaders Joshua Williams and Avani Rai.
We’re looking forward to continuing the work we began at the Conference and implementing new strategies alongside our member providers, especially for integrating nutrition and physical activity with healthcare.
Learn more about our advocacy efforts to reduce health disparities for people in America.