Biden’s National Strategy Focuses on Food Security and Nutrition

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH
national strategy

Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series

Policy name: Biden-Harris Administration National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

Overview: President Joe Biden has released a national strategy to achieve the goal of ending hunger, increasing healthy eating and physical activity, and reducing health disparities.

Location: United States

Population: 335.4 million

Food policy category: Food security, nutrition, preventive public health

Program goals: To end hunger, increase healthy eating, and increase physical activity among Americans by 2030. 

How it works: The National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health is divided into five pillars with specific tasks to be accomplished within each.

  • Improving food access and affordability:
    • Increase number of individuals taking advantage of federal assistance programs.
    • Provide free healthy school meals to all and expand summer food benefits.
    • Expand SNAP eligibility to reach additional underserved populations. 
    • Increase funding for the Older Americans Act nutrition programs. 
    • Make it easier for individuals to access health and nutrition assistance programs. 
    • Leverage housing organizations to increase food access.
    • Improve transportation options to and from food retailers.
    • Reduce barriers to food recovery in order to prevent food waste.
    • Improve access to emergency food.
  • Integrating nutrition and health.
    • Expand access to “food is medicine” interventions and nutrition counseling for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. 
    • Support the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.
    • Support wellness and nutritional care for low-income children. 
    • Screen for food insecurity through federal healthcare systems. 
    • Incentivize hospitals and healthcare providers to screen for food insecurity and other social determinants of health. 
    • Ensure that all medical professionals receive nutrition education. 
  • Empowering all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices. 
    • Update food labels with front-of-package labeling systems and ensure that “healthy” food labels align with current science. 
    • Make nutrition information easy to access when grocery shopping online.
    • Expand SNAP incentives for purchasing fruits and vegetables. 
    • Lower the sodium and added sugar content of prepared food.
    • Limit the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages.
    • Increase access to local foods.
    • Expand breastfeeding support and counseling for mothers.
    • Support regular updates to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and provide a national nutrition education campaign. 
  • Supporting physical activity for all.
    • Connect more people to parks.
    • Promote active transportation (walking and biking) and land-use policies that support physical activity.
    • Support children’s physical activity.
    • Provide regular updates to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and increase awareness about the importance of physical activity. 
  • Enhancing nutrition and food security research. 
    • Increase funding to support research for evidence-based policies.
    • Ensure diversity in nutrition, health, and food security research.
    • Evaluate federal assistance programs and identify areas in need of improvement.
    • Research the intersection of climate change, food security, and nutrition. 

More than $8 billion is being invested in advancing the strategy. 

Progress to date: The Strategy was released on September 28, 2022, the same day the Biden administration hosted the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

Why it is important: In 2021, more than 10 percent of households experienced food insecurity for at least part of the year. Diet-related chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, are among the leading killers in the United States, with heart disease and cancer causing the most deaths among Americans in 2020. Increasing access to food, particularly healthy food, and improving the nutritional quality of all Americans’ diets, regardless of sociodemographics, is crucial to enhancing overall health and quality of life. 

Program/Policy initiated: The strategy was released on September 28, 2022.

Point of contact: The White House

Similar practices: In June 2022, the United Kingdom released a Government Food Strategy to provide healthier, more sustainable and affordable food for all. In the same month, Scotland passed its Good Food Nation Bill showing the government’s commitment to becoming a nation in which all people take pride in, and benefit from, the food they produce and eat.  

Evaluation: A formal evaluation has not yet been conducted, but the Strategy has received support from various organizations including the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food Research and Action Center, the Public Health Institute, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the National League of Cities, and the National Association of Counties.  

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