The Biden-Harris Administration has catalyzed action for the millions of Americans struggling with food insecurity and diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Last September, the Administration convened the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health (watch it here). During the conference, President Biden set an audacious goal to end hunger and reduce diet-related disease by 2030—all while closing disparities among the communities that are impacted most.
There is much that still needs to be done. Chronic diseases related to our diets have reached an alarming prevalence among Americans, but this doesn’t have to continue into our future. Today, poor diets and sedentary lifestyles are fueling an obesity epidemic: 42% of Americans have obesity and face increased risks for many conditions including, but not limited to, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, many cancers, respiratory illnesses, mental health disorders, and social stigmatization that interferes with all aspects of life and can compound their risks for chronic conditions. Diet-related poor health has profound implications for our economy, global competitiveness, military readiness, and long-term security. Currently, many Americans do not have access to affordable healthy food. There are deep disparities in diet-related chronic diseases and food insecurity, both of which disproportionately impact low-income, rural, underrepresented, and other vulnerable populations.
To help address these challenges, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health along with public and private sector commitments to improve food access and affordability, integrate nutrition and health into programs, empower consumers to make healthy choices, support physical activity for all, and enhance nutrition and food security research.
The national strategy tasks the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to identify scientific opportunities, gaps, and priorities to continue to advance nutrition science, emphasizing equitable access to the benefits of research. PCAST is working with the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Interagency Policy Council on Nutrition to respond to the questions below – and also seeks public input to inform a vision for advancing nutrition science:
- How can the United States obtain the greatest return from federal investment in nutrition research?
- What are the crucial evidence gaps in nutrition research and what steps could PCAST recommend that would substantially fill those gaps?
- What tools, methods, or other resources (in addition to funding) are needed to conduct that research?
- Are there other barriers to research (other than inadequate funding)?
- Are there models from other fields of science that could be employed to fill nutrition research evidence gaps?
- How could/should research-based interventions for primary and secondary prevention of diet-related chronic diseases be introduced into federal programs?
- What can be done to assure equitable access to the benefits of the federal nutrition research investment?
PCAST will consult with experts and federal agencies that are responsible for food and nutrition programs and research, and would also like to hear from you.
Please send your ideas and responses to these questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “Nutrition” in the subject line. Unfortunately, we cannot commit to corresponding on all submissions, but we may invite contributors to present their ideas to the working group as part of our evolving process to develop recommendations.
Thank you for sharing your ideas.
Nutrition Working Group Co-Leads:
Nutrition Working Group Members:
Special thanks to ICHNR and the Nutrition IPC.