healthy diet

Doctors and health systems find novel ways to address hunger and its causes

Poverty, hunger and poor health are interlinked problems, ones that some doctors and medical systems are trying to address by screening patients for food insecurity, connecting them with food and other resources, and advocating broadly against inequality.(No paywall)

School Nutrition Association says go slow on nutrition overhaul

Next fall, the Biden administration will propose new nutrition standards for school meals, the the first attempt to strengthen the rules since 2012. Health advocates are already starting to make their wish lists known—further lowering sodium, making meals more nutritious and, for the first time ever, capping the amount of added sugar in food served to students. (No paywall)

WIC got a benefit boost during the pandemic; advocates want to make it permanent

Since last spring, participants in WIC, the federal government’s health and nutritional safety net for low-income parents, infants and children, have been getting about three times as much as they normally get to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. The temporary benefit boost, designed to address food and nutrition insecurity during the pandemic, has increased fruit and vegetable consumption among participating children and spurred more than $1 billion in spending, according to a new report from the National WIC Association.(No paywall)

Voluntary FDA guidelines would cut salt intake by 12 percent

With Americans consuming 50 percent more salt than recommended, the FDA issued voluntary guidelines on Wednesday that would reduce sodium content in packaged and restaurant food, the major source of salt in the diet. The FDA said guidelines might "become one of the most significant public health nutrition interventions in a generation."

Critics say a lack of diversity among nutrition professionals skews America’s understanding of dietary health

In the U.S., the field of dietetics and nutrition — and, accordingly, the corps of professionals who shape how Americans understand dietary health, in part by helping draft the national dietary guidelines — has a diversity problem. Over 71 percent of the country’s registered dietitians are white, and unpaid internships and high tuition costs create barriers to entry that have made the field an increasingly elite profession. (No paywall)

Biden administration announces largest increase ever in SNAP benefits

The Biden administration will increase SNAP benefits by an average of 25 percent on Oct. 1 — the largest increase in the history of food stamps — based on a reassessment of the cost of a nutritious diet. Analysts and anti-hunger advocates said on Sunday that the increase would improve the diets of millions of poor Americans.(No paywall)

USDA study finds SNAP participants have a hard time eating a healthy diet

Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, face significant hurdles in putting nutritious food on the table each month, according to a USDA study released yesterday. (No paywall)

Booker backs a food box program for fruits and vegetables

Sen. Cory Booker, the new chairman of the Senate nutrition subcommittee called for a permanent food box program to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to communities "in desperate need for healthy produce." Booker also said $20 billion a year should be devoted to USDA climate mitigation programs and that a moratorium should be imposed on mergers in the agricultural sector.(No paywall)

As schools reopen, the fight over nutrition standards resumes, with salt and sugar still in the crosshairs

School nutrition standards haven’t been updated since 2010, when the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act — former First Lady Michelle Obama’s overhaul of school nutrition standards that mandated more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and reduced sodium — was passed. As Congress moves forward with a long-overdue Child Nutrition Reauthorization, lawmakers and advocates are sparring over what changes, if any, should be made to the food kids eat at school.(No paywall)

Tackle hunger and diet quality at the same time, says Vilsack

U.S. anti-hunger programs should address the twin challenges of nutrition — supplying enough food and encouraging diets built around healthy food — at the same time after decades of focusing on a lack of food for poor Americans, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday.

Pandemic paradox: As food poverty rises, so does obesity

The Covid-19 pandemic has limited trips to the grocery store, shut down neighborhood markets and generally made it harder for people struggling financially to find affordable healthy food, reports Bloomberg.  As a result, more people are relying on cheaper and more easily accessible fast and ultra-processed food, driving up rates of obesity around the world.

Cut back on sugar and alcohol, recommends U.S. diet panel

Americans should halve their consumption of added sugars, and men should limit themselves to one drink a day, said a panel of experts helping the government update its advice on healthful diets. The advisory committee report, published on Wednesday, is expected to provide the scientific foundation for a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scheduled for publication late this year.

What ‘anxiety baking’ says about socioeconomics and a poor diet

Comfort food is having its moment because all of us, even those with relative means, are feeling decidedly uncomfortable right now. But for millions of low-income Americans, there won’t be any return to the gym, the running club, or sensible eating when the virus is behind us. Not only do these families typically have less access to healthier food and safe spaces for exercise, they were already enduring the very same pressures now driving more affluent Americans to overeat unhealthy food: job insecurity, cramped living spaces, poorer sleep, a dearth of childcare, and lack of assured access to medical care.(No paywall)

Three meals a day, if you include work or TV

Americans are devoting less time to meals than they did a decade ago and waiting longer before eating them, according to two USDA analysts. The old idea of three meals a day applies to 21st century America only if you include food consumption that is secondary to something else, such as working or watching TV and movies.

Diet for a healthy planet: Half the red meat and sugar, more grains, nuts, produce

A three-year collaboration by three dozen experts in nutrition, agriculture, economics, and the environment says it has solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to feed an expected 10 billion people at mid-century without imperiling future food production. The answer is the “planetary health diet.”

Perdue completes overhaul of school food rules

In 2017, on just his sixth day in office, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made chocolate milk safe for schools again, along with white flour and salt, in the name of “regulatory flexibility” for school food programs. On Thursday, the USDA said it will make those changes permanent.

In CDC report on ‘fast food,’ Sweetgreen and McDonald’s are treated as equals

A much-publicized report from the Centers for Disease Control released earlier this month found that more than a third of Americans eat fast food daily. But what wasn't included in the media coverage was that the study’s definition of "fast food" includes fast-casual restaurants, such as the custom-salad chain Sweetgreen, as well as coffee, bagel, and even ice cream shops. Such a broad definition, well beyond the burger-centric drive-through that the term "fast food" calls to mind, raises questions about how much the CDC data actually reveal about American eating habits.

Climate change puts more than a billion people at risk of iron deficiency

Rising levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reduce the amount of nutrients in staple crops such as rice and wheat, say researchers at Harvard's public health school. As a consequence, more than 1 billion women and children would lose a large amount of their dietary iron intake and be at larger risk of anemia and other diseases.

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