CRN Spotlights Need to Address Nutrient Gaps to White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

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Washington, D.C.—On the eve of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, which takes place September 28, 2022, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) is urging Conference leaders in the Biden Administration to focus on closing nutrition gaps. The conference aims to end hunger and increase healthier outcomes by 2030, and CRN stressed that addressing nutrition gaps is an important component in striving for a healthy and well-nourished America.

In a letter submitted to the conference leaders, CRN President and CEO Steve Mister and Andrea Wong, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, emphasized that the Conference should address improvements to nutrition along with physical hunger. Mister stated: “No one should have to go to bed hungry, and everyone should have access to a variety of food that provides a sense of satiety, but focusing solely on calories and food quantity would be shortsighted. Better nutrition leads to healthier lives. Public policy should consider how to increase intake of essential nutrients among all socioeconomic groups and to address nutrition disparities that lead to chronic disease and missed opportunities to reduce these illnesses.”

Related: NPA Stresses Value of Supplements to White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

In July, CRN submitted recommendations to the White House Conference to increase nutrition access and now has reiterated its earlier calls for attention to better nutrition as well as reducing hunger.

As outlined in July, CRN recommends the following to help achieve the Conference’s proposed pillars:

Include multivitamins/mineral supplements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan (SNAP) benefits.

CRN pointed to existing research that shows low-income and food-insecure adults are at greater risk of nutrient shortfalls. Amending the SNAP program to allow beneficiaries the opportunity to purchase multivitamin/mineral supplements would help address the socioeconomic nutritional gap and help achieve improved food access and affordability, CRN said.

Allocate adequate resources to regularly update Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) and establish new DRIs for nutrients & bioactives as needed.

CRN noted that, with a few exceptions, DRIs have not been updated for at least the past 15 to 20 years despite research that highlights the role of nutrition in strengthening immunity, maintaining cognitive function and active lifestyles, and reducing chronic disease risk. CRN called for regular updates to existing DRIs, and establishing new ones, to integrate nutrition and health by giving researchers, policy makers, and healthcare providers up-to-date information on nutrients and bioactives in order to develop new programs and recommendations.

Develop initiatives to educate on the relationship between nutrition & better health, and the role supplements can play in filling nutrient gaps.

CRN noted that, addition to access to a variety of nutritious foods that deliver these nutrients, and supplements to fill in nutritional gaps, consumers need access to nutrition education that explains the importance of eating a healthy diet and explains the negative health consequences from failing to meet the body’s nutritional needs.

Grant attention to private sector initiatives/partnerships to increase nutrition access.

CRN highlighted private sector initiatives to improve nutrition access by working with non-profits that serve low-income and food-insecure people. To broaden the supplement industry’s efforts, CRN said its Act for Access program challenged its members to volunteer or donate to non-profits between June and September, and has demonstrated success with broad participation from members.

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