Opinion: Bold action needed on U.S. food policies to improve health

September 23, 2022 – New food policies are urgently needed in the U.S., according to three nutrition experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In a September 22, 2022 opinion piece in The Hill, the experts, all from Harvard Chan School’s Department of NutritionFrank Hu, Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and department chair; Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition; and Lilian Cheung, director of health promotion and communication—called on federal officials to develop smart policies to improve the health of individuals and communities, reduce health costs, and protect planetary health. The article appeared as the White House was planning a September 28 summit on hunger, nutrition, and health—its first in more than 50 years.

The nation faces significant nutrition-related issues, according to the co-authors. They cited the co-existence of food insecurity and obesity—and the resulting costs to the health care system, the labor market, the economy, and national security; communities of color and low-income communities with little access to healthy foods; and negative planetary impacts from current choices about how we grow, process, and consume food.

The co-authors recommended five major policy goals:

  • Make nutritious foods accessible to all
  • Protect children from harmful food marketing
  • Strengthen food labeling
  • Commit to a sustainable food system
  • Improve infrastructure to support active living

“Americans deserve food and nutrition policies that make it easier for us all to live full and healthy lives,” the co-authors wrote. “America’s well-being depends on it.”

Read the opinion piece in The Hill: The five bold actions needed from the White House food summit