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For the first time since it developed its school lunches program in 1969, the US Government will this week hold a summit to deliver a new national strategy for food, hunger, nutrition, and health.
The summit will on Wednesday bring together the public, private, research, and NGO sectors to share ideas on how to improve food access, and affordability. Participants will also discuss how to integrate nutrition, and health, empower consumers to make healthy choices, support physical activity for all, and enhance nutrition, and food security research.
"Too many families don't know where they're going to get their next meal, with too many empty chairs around the kitchen table because a loved one was taken by heart disease, diabetes or other diet-related diseases which are some of the leading causes of death in our country," US President Joe Biden said ahead of the summit.
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"I'm committed to taking bold steps that can end hunger, and will enable everyone to have access to affordable healthy food, and safe places to be physically active, but we can't do this alone, I want your ideas."
The event comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated global poverty, and the war in Ukraine has eroded food security, seeing global hunger levels rise. The UN Sustainable Development Goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030 looks entirely out of reach. Despite early gains, the number of people affected by hunger globally has been on the rise since 2014.
At the same time, quality evidence shows healthy food is often the more affordable choice to more highly processed alternatives in many countries, yet people continue to spend more of their food budget on the latter. Adult obesity is on the rise in all regions.
Researchers the world over are exploring how to feed our growing population, but also the role of government policies including taxes, social safety nets, and food advertising in delivering affordable nutrition.
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Some 690 million people are hungry, or 8.9 percent of the world population
If recent trends continue, the UN predicts the number of people affected by hunger will surpass 840 million by 2030, or 9.8 percent of the global population.
Around 42 percent — or 3.07 billion — of the global population could not afford a healthy diet in 2020, according to the World Bank.
Poor diet is the leading preventable contributor to the burden of disease globally.
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