WASHINGTON – In advance of the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in more than 50 years next week, Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) and James P. McGovern (MA-02) introduced the Education and Training (EAT) for Health Act. One of the key pillars of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health is to: Integrate nutrition and health: Prioritize the role of nutrition and food security in overall health, including disease prevention and management, and ensure that our health care system addresses the nutrition needs of all people.
The EAT for Health Actwill increase nutrition education and awareness for health care professionals and ensure federal primary care health professionals have continuing education courses relating to nutrition. According to Healthy People 2030, only 24.8 percent of physician office visits included counseling about nutrition or diet.
“Disease prevention is critical to gaining control of our spiraling health care costs,” said Rep. Grijalva. “The most effective and affordable method to prevent chronic disease is health and nutrition promotion starting with a healthy diet. We must ensure that health care professionals are fully equipped and educated to provide well-rounded preventative care for patients that includes nutrition, and I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Rep. McGovern that will lead to longer, healthier lives.”
“I’ve long been a vocal proponent for increasing the amount of nutrition training that our health care providers receive,” said Chairman McGovern. “Our primary care physicians are critical frontline health workers and this bill will give them the support and training they need to better integrate nutrition counseling and related supports into care plans for their patients.”
“Our nation’s collective eating habits are driving mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes to shocking levels.” says Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “It is more important now than ever before that our doctors are prepared to talk with their patients about nutrition. Introduced on the eve of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the EAT for Health Act will ensure that federal agencies are prepared to face our nation’s diet-related diseases head on. The Physicians Committee applauds Reps. Grijalva and McGovern for their continued leadership on this vital issue.”
Most people in the United States consume too much sodium, saturated fat, and sugar, increasing their risk of chronic diseases. Poor nutrition can also be a contributing factor in stress, tiredness, reduced work capacity, dental problems, and depression. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) around 90 percent of annual health expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.
Bill text for the EAT for Health Act can be found here.