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September 28, 2022

White House holds conference on hunger, nutrition, and health, releases national strategy and announces other agency actions

On September 28, the White House convened the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health since 1969, convening elected officials, advocates and activists, and leaders of business, faith, and philanthropy from across America to meet a bold conference goal: ending hunger in America and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030. In opening the conference, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that what was true in the last gathering decades ago still rings true today: "Food and nutrition security are central to our national security and our economic future." The Secretary said that while we have made great strides in addressing food insecurity, it remains "unacceptably high" and that "much more needs to be done." He provided an overview of the Biden-Harris Administration National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, which was released in advance of the conference, highlighting key initiatives from the five pillars:

  • Pillar 1 — Improve Food Access and Affordability. Sec. Vilsack said that a critical step to reducing hunger is ensuring all Americans are economically secure, including through a permanent extension of the expanded, fully refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
  • Pillar 2 — Integrate Nutrition and Health. Sec. Vilsack highlighted the Administration's proposal to expand Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries' access to "food is medicine" interventions, including a pilot to test coverage of medically tailored meals in Medicare for those experiencing diet-related health conditions.
  • Pillar 3 — Empower All Consumers to Make and Have Access to Healthy Choices. Sec. Vilsack discussed the Administration's support for incentives to boost access to healthy foods in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food assistance programs.
  • Pillar 4 — Support Physical Activity for All. Sec. Vilsack highlighted initiatives to build environments that promote physical activity, including connecting more people to parks and other outdoor spaces, particularly in nature-deprived communities.
  • Pillar 5 — Enhance Nutrition and Food Security Research. Sec. Vilsack said we should advance innovative, inclusive, impactful, and science-based policy solutions to address nutrition and food insecurity.

President Biden also addressed the conference, calling for a bipartisan, whole of government response to meet the conference goal. He said, "The task before this conference is the important work of fellows in meeting this inflection point by nourishing the soul of America." "In America," he added, "no child should go to bed hungry. No parent should die of a disease that can be prevented." In closing, he said that "we're at our best we think big" and that "there is nothing beyond our capacity when we work together. So let's work together."

The administration also announced other actions and commitments in coordination with the conference. This includes a fact sheet detailing more than $8 billion in new stakeholder commitments as part of the Conference's call to action; a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposal to update criteria for when foods can be labeled with the nutrient content claim "healthy" on their packaging; and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approval of Medicaid 1115 Waivers in Massachusetts and Oregon, which among other things will provide new authority to address unmet health-related social needs by testing coverage for evidenced-based nutritional assistance and medically tailored meals.

Additional information is also available in the attached Tax Alert.


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Washington Council Ernst & Young
   • Heather Meade (
   • Laura Dillon (


White House conference on hunger, nutrition, health