Healthy food habits one of the main targets of the USA Healthy People 2030 federal programme

December 14, 2023

How can the USA move into healthier diet practices? The Healthy People 2030 programme launched by the Biden administration focuses on helping people get the recommended amounts of healthy foods and calls for an active participation of both public and private stakeholders in the food industry. It remains a long-term goal according to the latest assessment of the programme’s actions.

The election of Joe Biden to the presidency of the United States led in 2022 to an ambitious food health programme called the “White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health” and the launch of “Healthy People 2030”. This initiative looks at drastically reducing the number of people in the United States who do not eat a healthy diet.

More than 50 years since the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health, the United States are facing an urgent, nutrition-related health crisis with the rising prevalence of diet-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and certain cancers. The consequences of food insecurity and diet-related diseases disproportionately impact historically under-served communities. However, food insecurity and diet-related diseases are largely preventable according to the Biden Administration.

Healthy food habits one of the main targets of the USA Healthy People 2030 federal programme

Healthy People 2030 targets in particular nutrition habits by helping people get the recommended amounts of healthy foods — like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The Nutrition and Healthy Eating objectives also aim to help people get recommended amounts of key nutrients, like calcium and potassium. Actions are also being carried out to lower saturated fat, added sugar and sodium in consumed food. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the newest version of its “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” aimed at promoting health and preventing disease.

A year before a new presidential election, Healthy People 2030 reviewed the achievements of its intervention for a better diet for American citizens.

Following sodium, reducing added sugars in food

Four objectives are identified: “Target met or exceeded”; “improving”; “little or no detectable change” and “getting worse”. Another assessment is “Baseline only”, meaning that the administration has not received numbers beyond the initial baseline data and could not monitor any progress.

Healthy food habits one of the main targets of the USA Healthy People 2030 federal programme
(Photo from Pablo Merchán Montes for Unsplash)

While there have been no “target met or exceeded” items, Healthy People 2030 recorded three fields of improvement: Reducing household food insecurity and hunger; reducing the sodium intake and increasing vitamin D consumption. Meanwhile, objectives to increase the consumption of fruit, vegetables, dark green vegetables as well as reducing the intake of added sugars show little or no detectable change. Increasing the consumption of whole grains and reducing the consumption of saturated fat have worsened.

Many initiatives accompany the Healthy People 2030 campaign. The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) updated its Nutrition Facts Label in 2016 and regularly conducts educational campaigns on those labels printed on all food products in the country. Food labeling empowers consumers with information they can use to identify healthier foods and may help foster a healthier food supply following some manufacturers’ reformulation of their products.

Among other initiatives, the FDA is now working on strategies to reduce the consumption of added sugars. It also updated the claim “healthy” to be consistent with current nutrition science and Federal dietary guidance. It is working to provide clearer information on groceries online to help empower consumers with accurate, informative, and accessible food labelling.

Healthy People 2030 and all the initiatives taken by the FDA and the USDA look at empowering all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices working with the entire agri-food sector.

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