When the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health convened on September 28, 2022, it was the first time in more than 50 years that such a conference was held. The 1969 conference title notably had the word “food” instead of hunger, and it resulted in the creation of nationwide programs such as school lunches, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and changes in food labeling.
With a goal to “end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension,” the White House has laid out five pillars to define the scope of the conference. Those pillars, which are explored in more detail in the full report, are: Improve food access and affordability; integrate nutrition and health; empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices; support physical activity for all; and enhance nutrition and food security research.
These pillars are closely aligned with AdventHealth’s philosophy of CREATION Health—which stands for Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook, and Nutrition. Guided by this philosophy, AdventHealth delivers whole-person care within the walls of its facilities and in the communities it serves. AdventHealth’s commitment to providing whole-person care has already manifested in the work being done across the organization to address social determinants of health such as food security.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, 33.8 million people lived in food-insecure households in 2021. For the 5 million children included in that number, not knowing where their next meal is coming from can have far-ranging effects.
“Both adequate quantity and the right balance of nutrition are extremely important for childrens’ mental health, for optimal brain development and functioning. Without it, a child may experience problems with memory, concentration, learning, behavior problems and even mood changes in certain cases,” Tina Gurnani, a pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist with AdventHealth Medical Group in the Central Florida Division, said. “The anxiety of food insecurity can also be a traumatic experience for many children and lead to unhealthy body image problems and maladaptive eating patterns. In addition, children who are also seeing parents struggle with food insecurity can experience stress and sadness as well.”
“As a non-profit health care system, AdventHealth undertakes community health needs assessments (CHNAs) every three years to identify the top needs in the communities it serves and, based on those needs, develops community health plans,” AdventHealth recently reported. “Though some AdventHealth facilities are still working to finalize their assessments for their 2023-2025 plans, at least 11 already have identified nutrition as a top priority impacting their community.”