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USDA has always worked to ensure all Americans have adequate access to food. Now, the time has come for deeper conversation about nutrition security – the consistent access to safe, healthy, affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being, regardless of race, ethnicity, or background. Nutrition security efforts work together with promoting food security, ensuring that everyone not only has enough to eat, and that those calories contribute to their overall health.
Poor diet is the leading cause of health issues in the U.S, with nearly 3 in 4 American adults being overweight or obese. Certain populations, such as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as people in rural and low-income communities are at greater risk for diet-related disease.
As USDA observes Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, we recognize the vital role these professionals have in guiding those they serve towards preparing more nutritious meals and living healthier lifestyles.
USDA is working to promote nutrition security in several ways:
Revolutionizing and Expanding WIC
The American Rescue Plan Act invested an historic $390 million which USDA is using to improve reach and effectiveness in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). These efforts are improving in-store shopping experiences, testing solutions for using benefits at farmers markets, and more.
Updating School Meals Standards
Evidence shows school meals are the healthiest meals kids get in a day. To build on that, USDA is updating school nutrition standards that build on the success of school meal programs and align with Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025.
Increasing SNAP Benefits
Before last year, nearly nine of ten SNAP participants struggled to consume foods and beverages aligned with federal recommendations, with the cost of healthy foods cited as the most common roadblock. USDA reevaluated the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) – the basis for SNAP benefits – resulted in a 21% increase in the TFP. This was the first permanent increase of benefits in 45 years and strengthens SNAP as a powerful tool for promoting nutrition security.
This Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day we look forward to continued partnership with the nutrition community as we work together to ensure all Americans achieve nutrition security.