Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing 141 new bold commitments from stakeholders across the nation, including health systems, insurers, companies, non-profits, philanthropic groups, academia, and local elected officials, who have stepped up as part of the White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities (the Challenge). Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff will announce the commitments at an event at the White House today, alongside White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden; White House Office of Public Engagement Director Stephen Benjamin; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; and chef José Andrés and basketball player Elena Delle Donne, Chairs of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.
The Challenge was a nationwide call-to-action to stakeholders across all of society to make commitments to advance President Biden’s goal to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030—all while reducing health disparities. The $1.7 billion in new commitments announced today build on the $8 billion in commitments announced at the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health—held for the first time in 50 years in September 2022—and complements the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to implement the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The Biden-Harris Administration worked with the CDC Foundation to cultivate commitments.
The commitments announced today also build on the new partnership between major sports leagues, players associations, and the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition (the Council) to boost physical activity and increase nutrition programming across the country that the Administration announced earlier this month. Fourteen sports leagues and players associations signed agreements with the Council to expand access to physical activity, integrate messaging and education around nutrition, and promote healthy lifestyles to the millions of people who engage in their programs every year.
New commitments include:
HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS: The Harlem Globetrotters will begin a two-year partnership with KABOOM! to lead a national public awareness campaign on the important link between good nutrition and healthy physical activity. Across six cities, they will host events designed to generate awareness about the importance of nutrition, engage public health and community. This campaign will be in addition to other Globetrotter public outreach efforts in 50 cities across the country.
THE CITIES OF CLEVELAND, OH; MAYWOOD, IL; BATON ROUGE, LA; EAST HAVEN, CT; DEARBORN, MI; SEATTLE, WA; MILWAUKEE, WI; HARPERWOOD, MI; ROCHESTER, MN; SALEM, MA; COLUMBIA, SC; DOUGLASVILLE, GA; LITTLE ROCK, AR; EARLE, AR; FRANKFORT, IL; and HOUSTON, TX are taking action in their communities, including by launching a task force and/or create an action plan to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases in their communities by 2030.
AHOLD DELHAIZE USA: Ahold Delhaize USA and its local brands are accelerating their work to support nutrition education for children with a new commitment to invest almost $1 million to reach more than 200,000 children with nutrition messaging in 2024. Ahold Delhaize USA’s local brands, including Food Lion, Giant Food, The GIANT Company, Hannaford, and Stop & Shop, will leverage new and existing programs to share the benefits of good nutrition with socioeconomically diverse children across its retail operating area in 18 states and the District of Columbia. They will also address the root cause of hunger by supporting food security through employment opportunities, connecting with non-profit organizations, regional food banks and food pantries to provide information on hiring events and job opportunities.
ASCENSION: Ascension will focus on identifying, engaging and addressing Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) needs impacting health equity with an emphasis on high-poverty and vulnerable communities, maternal and infant health, cancer screening disparities, and the Ascension workforce. Ascension will increase workforce access to fresh, affordable produce by providing hospital-based produce markets in 100% of their sites of care currently offering food retail locations (139 hospitals across 19 states) and a food choice architecture system to raise awareness of healthier food options. By 2030, patients and communities served by Ascension will experience comprehensive and integrated SDoH screening and closed-loop referral processes; expanded access to emergency food resources across sites of care through a community-based organizations partnership network; and a robust Community Health Ministry footprint across their network.
BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina will expand its one-on-one nutrition coaching and twice-monthly healthy food delivery pilot to be a standard benefit for its members, along with overseeing pilot programs designed to measure the impact of the company’s direct-to-member services on non-medical drivers of health that impact North Carolinians’ overall wellbeing. They will gather their own data and evaluate the effectiveness and immediacy of programs designed to alleviate food insecurity and foster behavioral change that can improve or even reverse diet-related chronic conditions. Blue Cross NC will share their results with the aim of informing other payers and the health care industry about the impacts and benefits of similar practices.
FOOD FORWARD: Food Forward, a produce recovery and hunger relief nonprofit, will recover 290 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste, and distribute this surplus free of charge to people experiencing food insecurity. Food Forward team members and volunteers recover fruits and vegetables that would have otherwise been wasted from backyard fruit trees, public orchards, farmers markets, and other outlets. By increasing its current annual recovery volume from 80 million to 100 million pounds by 2026, Food Forward will provide 1.6 billion more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to historically underserved communities. At the same time, this recovery will prevent emissions of more than 250,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
GAPLES INSTITUTE NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE EDUCATION: Gaples Institute, the developer of a nutrition science course for health professionals currently required in the curriculum of a number of medical schools, commits to offering to 100 additional U.S. medical schools and health professional training programs a newly developed comprehensive package of nutrition education resources centered around the Gaples Institute’s nutrition science course for clinicians. Priority will be given to medical schools and training programs in underserved areas. The Gaples Institute commits to provide partnering institutions with reduced registration fees for entire health professional classes, free train-the-trainer sessions, and an extensive array of free educational support resources. This national initiative will prepare the next generation of clinicians to equitably incorporate nutrition into transformative medical care.
HIGHMARK HEALTH AND ALLEGHENY HEALTH NETWORK: Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network will mobilize more than $30 million through 2030 in alignment with the five pillars of the National Strategy across Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and beyond. In the next two years Highmark Health entities will: Conduct over 1 million assessments with patients and members to identify and address non-medical barriers to health, including food insecurity; expand the capacity of six Healthy Food Centers, or food pharmacies, in six Allegheny Health Network hospitals to offer nutrition education and counseling to more than 20,000 individuals; and more than double the number of individuals assisted through a multi-sector food insecurity collaborative in rural Appalachia.
HOMEPLATE SOLUTIONS: Working with private and public entities, Homeplate Solutions has developed an AI-enabled technology and integrated dietary management platform that will provide greater affordability and food accessibility to 20,000 Community-based Nutrition Providers in 600 governmental jurisdictions. This convergence includes Sysco, Inc.; Valify Solutions Group – a division of HealthTrust; Foodbuy, LLC; R4 Technologies, Inc.; Other Half Processing, SBC; and AbundaBox, LLC. Homeplate Solutions aligns the purchasing leverage and dietary support of leading healthcare nutrition management systems to lessen the impact of food inflation, create sustainable supply chains, end food deserts, and decrease other systemic inequities that hurt vulnerable people. Homeplate has a combined 5-year, $174 million investment from stakeholders, with an initial capital injection of $5.6 million to implement the program at no cost to community providers.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHRONIC DISEASE DIRECTORS (NACDD): NACDD commits $2 million to improving physical activity, nutrition, and reducing chronic and diet-related diseases across the nation by implementing health equity trainings for a minimum of 2,500 professionals; installing volunteers in 20 State Health Departments to support food insecurity and physical activity efforts; recognizing 10 hospitals or health systems for complying with the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities; providing technical assistance to 400 professionals to promote arthritis-appropriate evidence-based physical activity interventions; providing 12 training and workforce development programs to over 50 states on food insecurity, active transportation, and social connection; and engaging 12 states and 26 school districts in evidence-based policies, practices, and programs focused on the physical and emotional well-being of students and staff.
A full list of commitments can be found here.
The National Strategy sets out a playbook to meet the President’s goal and calls for a whole-of-government approach to address hunger and diet-related diseases. Some of the actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken since launching the Challenge include:
- The Department of Agriculture (USDA) invested nearly $30 million in American Rescue Plan funding to 264 school districts to support them in improving the nutritional quality of their meals and modernizing their operations— the largest targeted investment USDA has ever made for school meal programs in small and rural communities;
- USDA finalized a rule that gives an estimated 3,000 more school districts in high-need areas the option to make healthy school meals available to all students at no cost to their families during the school year;
- USDA provided an unprecedented level of guidance and support to ensure that States, Territories, and Tribes were well prepared to operate the new Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program for Children (Summer EBT), enabling 37 States, the District of Columbia, all five U.S. Territories, and three Tribal Nations to plan to be the first to launch the new, permanent summer grocery benefits program for children that is expected to serve 21 million kids nationwide this summer, with more states expected to implement in 2025;
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a study to inform a proposed rule to standardize a front-of-package system for food packages to help consumers, particularly those with lower nutrition knowledge, quickly and easily identify foods that can help them build a healthy eating pattern;
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the U.S. Playbook to Address the Social Determinants of Health, which includes a set of framework actions that federal agencies will undertake to address unmet social needs-like the impact of housing and education on hunger and diet-related diseases;
- HHS released guidance for states on what health related social needs services and supports are allowable under Medicaid and CHIP, including specific nutrition services;
- HHS approved new ground-breaking Medicaid section 1115 demonstration initiatives in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington to test coverage of services such as evidence-based nutritional assistance, medically tailored meals, other health-related social needs for individuals with Medicaid; and
- HHS issued the physician fee schedule rule that finalizes codes and additional payment for Social Determinants of Health risk assessments, allows diabetes self-management training to be conducted via telehealth, and allows registered dieticians to bill for diabetes self-management training.