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Biden: More Benefits to End Hunger     09/27 06:06

   The Biden administration is laying out its plan to meet an ambitious goal of 
ending hunger in the U.S. by 2030, including expanding monthly benefits that 
help low-income Americans buy food.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Biden administration is laying out its plan to meet 
an ambitious goal of ending hunger in the U.S. by 2030, including expanding 
monthly benefits that help low-income Americans buy food.

   The administration, in a plan released Tuesday, is also seeking to increase 
healthy eating and physical activity so that fewer people are afflicted with 
diabetes, obesity, hypertension and other diet-related diseases. It said it 
would work to expand Medicaid and Medicare access to obesity counseling and 
nutrition.

   "The consequences of food insecurity and diet-related diseases are 
significant, far reaching, and disproportionately impact historically 
underserved communities," Biden wrote in a memo outlining the White House 
strategy. "Yet, food insecurity and diet-related diseases are largely 
preventable, if we prioritize the health of the nation."

   Biden is hosting a conference this week on hunger, nutrition and health, the 
first by the White House since 1969. That conference, under President Richard 
Nixon, was a pivotal moment that influenced the U.S. food policy agenda for 50 
years. It led to a greatly expanded food stamps program and gave rise to the 
Women, Infants and Children program, which serves half the babies born in the 
U.S. by providing women with parenting advice, breastfeeding support and food 
assistance.

   Over the years, cuts to federal programs coupled with stigmas over welfare 
and big changes to how food and farming systems are run have prompted declines 
in access to food.

   Biden, a Democrat, is hoping this week's conference is similarly 
transformative. But the goal of Nixon, a Republican, also was "to put an end to 
hunger in America for all time."

   And yet 10% of U.S. households in 2021 suffered food insecurity, meaning 
they were uncertain they could get enough food to feed themselves or their 
families because they lacked money or resources for food, according to the Food 
and Drug Administration.

   To succeed, Biden needs buy-in from the private sector and an increasingly 
partisan Congress. Some of the goals sound reminiscent of former first lady 
Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative to tackle childhood obesity and promote 
healthy eating. The conference also will highlight the need for access to 
better, healthier food and exercise.

   Biden said in his memo that over the past 50 years, "we have learned so much 
more about nutrition and the role that healthy eating plays in how our kids 
perform in the classroom and about nutrition and its linkages to disease 
prevention."

   Under to the White House plan, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 
eligibility would be expanded, children would get better access to free meals, 
and summer benefits would be extended to more schoolkids. Such changes would 
require congressional approval.

   The other tenets of the strategy include the development of new food 
packaging to truth-check the "healthy" claims for some products, expanding SNAP 
incentives to select fruits and vegetables, providing more programs to 
encourage people to get outside and move, and boosting funding for research.

 
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