Federal officials on Wednesday announced plans for an upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health — the first such event to be held in more than 50 years. The last White House hunger conference took place in 1969 during Richard Nixon’s presidency, and it sparked an expansion of the food stamp program (what’s now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) and the National School Lunch Program. It also led to the adoption of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
The conference is tentatively slated to be held in September, and funding for it was included in an omnibus spending bill Congress passed in March. We wrote to House and Senate lawmakers last year encouraging them to advance the measure, considering that more than 9 million older adults in the U.S. struggle to put food on the table. Older adults may face life challenges as they age — such as a medical crisis, job loss, or the death of a spouse or loved one — that may result in financial instability and make it difficult to afford food
“Food and nutrition security is a complex issue, requiring a comprehensive approach that thoughtfully engages a number of sectors beyond traditional nutrition assistance programs,” Bill Sweeney, senior vice president for government affairs at AARP, wrote in a letter to lawmakers.
The conference will focus on ending hunger, improving nutrition and physical activity, reducing diet-related diseases and closing disparities related to nutrition and food access by 2030, according to a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Tackling food insecurity is key to boosting our nation’s health,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Strengthening access to affordable and healthy food cuts down on chronic disease and helps us advance health equity for all Americans.”
Read more about the conference, and learn about how AARP Foundation helps older adults sign up for SNAP benefits.
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