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Historic White House health, nutrition conference focuses on healthy foods amid inflation

The gathering will be the first time in 50 years the meeting has happened
Virus Outbreak Washington
Posted at 2:30 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 17:30:37-04

WASHINGTON — There has been a lot of discussion around food lately because of inflation.

The price of chicken is up around 10% from last year. Cereal is up 16%.

Overall, if you bought $100 dollars of groceries last year at this time, that same order today would cost about $13 more.

While inflation is concerning, there is another food issue in the country that isn't necessarily dominating the headlines. That is food insecurity and the quality
of food being consumed by Americans.

WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE

For years, to save money, many Americans have been buying things like processed meats and cookies — foods that are cheaper than healthy fruits and vegetables.

Government programs, meanwhile, haven't necessarily encouraged a change in habits.

That issue, as well as others, will be part of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

President Biden is convening the gathering and will provide remarks.

According to the White House, this is the first time in 50 years that a major conference like this is taking place in Washington and the conversations that emerge from the meeting could shape health, nutrition, and physical activity in our country in the years to come.

"It's a very big deal. It's the first time since 1969 that it's happening," Jason Wilson, a spokesman with the Partnership for a Healthier America, said.

Wilson says the last time the White House did a conference like this, Nixon was president.

Policies like SNAP and WIC, food assistance programs for lower-income Americans, and the national school lunch program emerged from it. Nutrition labeling did too.

"We are all trying to get access to nutritious food," Wilson said.

Wilson says his group is looking forward to discussing with federal agencies, companies, and other non-profits about fundamental ways the government can improve the health of communities.

One issue that is expected to be brought up includes ways to get more fruits and vegetables into communities that lack reliable grocery stores.

Government-sponsored delivery programs may be a solution.

"How do we unlock the convenience of delivery in underserved communities?" Wilson said.

"There are studies that show two-thirds of food insecure Americans go on to develop diabetes," Wilson added.

Other issues Wilson would like to discuss include possible tax incentives for companies to advertise healthier food options and having the federal government define what "healthy" means.

Right now, the definition varies from store to store.

While the conference is only scheduled to last one day, Wilson says the ideas that come out of it will likely be brought forth as legislation in Congress in the coming years.

President Biden will announce commitments by the federal government and private companies during his remarks.