$8B U.S. plan includes fortifying dentists' nutrition literacy

2020 03 06 00 21 9248 Fruits Vegetables 400

On September 28, the Biden administration unveiled an $8 billion plan to end hunger and reduce diet-related disease in the U.S. by 2030 through several actions, including pledges from the Children's Oral Health Institute and others to bolster education in nutrition.

During the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, Biden announced that the plan will be funded through private and public sector philanthropic contributions, in-kind donations, and other investments. The plan aims to help millions of people in the U.S. struggling with food insecurity and diet-related diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, while closing inequities among those most impacted, according to a fact sheet from the White House.

About $2.5 billion will be invested into pioneering efforts by startup companies to combat hunger and food insecurity, and more than $4 billion will be dedicated to philanthropy that improves access to nutritious food, promotes healthy choices, and increases physical activity, according to the release.

Additionally, the plan calls for integrating nutrition and health. The National Dental Association, Case Western University's School of Dental Medicine, the Children's Oral Health Institute, the Society of American Indian Dentists, and several other health organizations, including the National Medical Association and the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, pledged to bolster nutrition education among health professionals.

By 2024, those organizations have committed to doing the following:

  • Strengthen nutrition education as one of the foundational competencies for professional training in all health-related fields
  • Incorporate the use of therapeutic lifestyle interventions in curricula and training on chronic disease
  • Ensure that professional training programs include at least one educator with formal training in nutrition science
  • Increase the number and credit value of nutrition continuing education units and maintenance of certification credits for all specialties
  • Ensure that at least 5% of board certification exam questions for both primary and subspecialty professional training programs include hunger, nutrition, and lifestyle topics

Additionally, the plan aims to improve food access and affordability through several actions, such as New York-based yogurt company Chobani's corporate responsibility initiative. It will encourage businesses to "adopt a school" and commit to making it food and nutrition secure. In 2023, the company will adopt three schools in Twin Falls, ID; Central New York; and New York City, with a goal for businesses in the U.S. to adopt at least 50 schools by 2030.

Finally, another pillar of the initiative is to enhance nutrition and food insecurity research. For example, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Heart Association, and inaugural partners, including Kroger, plan to raise $250 million to build a U.S. Food is Medicine research initiative.

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