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Letter: White House Conference to focus on nutrition

Karen K. Ehrens, former coordinator for Creating a Hunger Free North Dakota and Healthy North Dakota, writes, "The initiative’s goal is 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."

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On Sept. 28, 2022, the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health will be streamed online live across the country from Washington, DC. This one-day summit will bring together people and organizations working to end hunger and improve the quality of and access to food.

The initiative’s goal is 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. A national strategy of federal government actions will be announced the day of the summit, and it is expected that private businesses and nonprofits will also announce the steps they will be taking to meet the goal.

There are many opportunities to make changes to improve the quality of life. North Dakotans want better access to more healthful foods as documented in the  2021 State Health Assessment  led by the Department of Health. People across the state who provided input shared that affordability of healthy foods is a serious issue in their communities. American Indian people living in North Dakota, whom are impacted most by historic inequities in access to health care and resources, cited a lack of knowledge on where to find quality, healthy foods as a great threat to optimal health. North Dakotans affirm that providing affordable and easily accessible healthy food options would be one of “the most significant actions that the State of North Dakota could take to positively impact their personal health, wellness, and quality of life.”

We can end hunger and improve quality of life here and now by helping increase access to healthy food by all people. I cannot wait to see what steps North Dakotans will take in the days and months following the White House Conference. How will you help?

Karen K. Ehrens is a registered dietitian and former coordinator for Creating a Hunger Free North Dakota and Healthy North Dakota.

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This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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