White House conference shines much-needed focus on hunger, nutrition and health – SupportReport

In guest columns Matthew PiperOpen Hand Atlanta Executive Director and Kevin WoodsPresident of the Atlanta Medical Association.

In the year After moving to Atlanta in 2020, David, a successful publicist and professor, finds himself in a financial crisis after the pandemic wreaks havoc on his career. Things take a turn for the worse when a rare disease leaves him temporarily blind. He was diagnosed with ophthalmic rosacea, which typically causes redness, burning, and blurred vision. Without a social safety net and isolated in his apartment, David turns to Open Hand Atlanta for food to navigate his financial and medical crisis. After about a year, he saw significant improvements in his health and returned to class this fall. Open Hand Atlanta Nutritious Foods has contributed profoundly to his recovery and health today.

Kevin Woods is president of the Atlanta Medical Association.

When people are seriously ill, good nutrition is one of the first things to go wrong, making recovery and recovery difficult, if not impossible. Open Hand Atlanta, one of the largest community-based providers of medically tailored meals and nutrition services in the US, recently reported that one-third of its customers would have no idea where their next meal would come from if it weren’t for receiving an OP. Hand meals. David is definitely one of them.

It will be hosted by the White House for the first time in more than 50 years. Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health On September 28. This is a historic opportunity to expand “Food is Medicine” interventions – putting food at the forefront of addressing the health crisis plaguing the United States, with the goal of accelerating growth and making significant changes in improving nutrition and physical activity to end hunger. Reduce activity, diet-related diseases and close the gaps around them. The last time a conference of this nature was held, it resulted in sweeping legislation like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Program Concept for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); school breakfast and lunch programs; A national approach to creating dietary guidelines; And a Nutrition Facts label.

The mission is clear—rethinking our nation’s food system to end hunger, improve nutrition, and reduce diet-related chronic disease. This conference can focus on our communities who are vulnerable due to food insecurity, especially those who are facing chronic health conditions.

The solutions are clear.

  • Common sense policies, recommended by the National Dietetics Coalition, should include updating Medicare and Medicaid to make medically customized meals a fully reimbursed benefit for people with serious and chronic illnesses. Additionally, fully funding and implementing large-scale medically-tailored-meal pilots within the Medicare and Medicaid programs has broad benefits. Early and reliable access to medically tailored foods can help individuals live healthier and more productive lives, lead to better overall health outcomes, and reduce health care costs. It is a proven solution that improves public and individual health, improves the care experience and reduces costs.
  • Expanding research into therapeutic foods has great potential. For example, Open Hand recently began investigating the effects of medically tailored diets on women with gestational diabetes and improving outcomes for mothers and their babies. Georgia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in America.
  • Finally, identifying food insecurity and malnutrition in clinical settings is an urgent priority. Screening for patient food insecurity and linking patients to food resources is strongly supported by statements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Diabetes Association, the Academy of Diet and Nutrition, and AARP.

Matthew Piper is the executive director of Open Hands Atlanta.

We face new challenges in our food system that harm Americans and cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars in preventable health care costs each year. A person’s diet can mean life and death and contributes to high rates of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. About 50% of adults in the United States have diabetes or pre-diabetes and 75% are overweight or obese. Chronic diseases and nutrition-sensitive diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and HIV/AIDS are prevalent in Georgia.

Many negative health outcomes are rooted in poor nutrition, which is exacerbated by racial and socioeconomic inequities. In Georgia, access to medically customized foods is extremely limited. And this must change.

The US is at a critical juncture in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and diet-related disease. This is a great time to increase access to medically customized foods and develop prescription programs, as well as provide more robust nutrition education for medical professionals and counseling by registered dietitians to provide appropriate insurance coverage.

We urge all those gathered at the White House conference this month to help expand access to these lifesaving interventions.

Interested in writing a guest column for SaportaReport? of S.R The team strives to elevate and highlight diverse perspectives in our community, and we want to hear from you! Email editor Derek Prall To discuss in detail.

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