U.S. House Passes Critical Bipartisan Resolution to Bolster Nutrition Education for Medical Professionals

Food is Medicine Announcements, Nutrition Security Announcements, Press Releases & Comments

May 20, 2022

U.S. House Passes Critical Bipartisan Resolution to Bolster Nutrition Education for Medical Professionals

Co-chairs of Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health Applaud Important Advancement

Washington, D.C – Last night, the U.S. House passed a resolution calling on medical schools and other health professional training programs to meaningfully incorporate nutrition education into their curricula, advance nutrition research, and raise awareness of the critical role that nutrition plays in the health of all people. 

Over the last 30 years, the tremendous rise of diet-related chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity has laid bare the central role of nutrition in health and well-being. Nutrition insecurity and diet-related disease also create major health disparities among Americans with lower incomes, those who live in rural areas, or those who identify as racial or ethnic minorities. Yet, for too long, nutrition education has been missing from the healthcare system, with nutrition curricula for doctors and other health care providers being cursory or completely absent. The bipartisan resolution passed this week is a powerful statement highlighting this paradox, and calling for sensible, practical solutions to educate doctors and the rest of our allied healthcare workforce in the interconnections between food, nutrition, health, and disease, and the corresponding Food as Medicine treatments.  

The Co-chairs of the Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health (“Task Force”) applaud authors Reps. James P. McGovern (D-Mass.) and Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas) for this historic, bipartisan resolution to improve health across the country by better preparing medical professionals to meet the interrelated hunger, nutrition, and health crises we face head on.

Statement from Task Force Co-chair Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Food Systems for the Future; Former Executive Director, World Food Programme

“I am thrilled to see the bipartisan passage of the Resolution on Nutrition Education in Medical Schools by Rep. McGovern and Rep. Burgess. This represents a crucial step in working to address diet-related diseases and health impacts which have disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income individuals. Providing our medical professionals with nutrition education is a critical first step to ensure that patients have the information they need to improve their health. We must continue working to increase consumer demand for a nutritious balanced diet by ensuring universal awareness, affordability and availability of good food.” 

Statement from Task Force Co-chair Senator Bill Frist, Former Majority Leader of the United States Senate; Global Board Vice-Chair, The Nature Conservancy; Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; Adjunct Professor of Surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Department of Cardiac Surgery

“This is a tremendous resolution and is one that will work to have a long lasting and far reaching impact on medical and other health professional training programs as well as on improving the health and wellbeing of our nation and local communities. I applaud this bipartisan effort — a great step forward but much work remains.”

Statement from Task Force Co-chair Secretary Dan Glickman, Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; Former United States Secretary of Agriculture

“I commend Reps. McGovern and Burgess for raising this vital issue and authoring this resolution — this should facilitate much more interest in training physicians in recognizing the importance of nutrition in medical education.” 

Statement from Task Force Co-chair Dean Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean and Jean Mayer Professor of Nutrition, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University; Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and Division of Cardiology, Tufts Medical Center

“Today, more Americans are sick than are healthy, suffering from diet-related chronic diseases caused by a food system and policies that make it hard to achieve good nutrition. These challenges are harming Americans in all 50 states in profound and inequitable ways — and especially Americans who live in rural areas, have lower incomes, or are racial or ethnic minorities, who face higher rates of diabetes, obesity, stroke, and heart disease. To help fix this, one obvious solution is to integrate nutrition into our healthcare system. Today, we are failing to prepare doctors and nurses to talk to their patients about nutrition, much less to intervene. This bipartisan resolution highlights the challenges — and opportunities — to integrate nutrition education into all stages of medical training and help advance the health of our country.”

About the Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health: In September, the Biden-Harris Administration will host the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in over 50 years. To inform and help achieve the goals of the Conference, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Food Systems for the Future, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and World Central Kitchen announced the formation of the Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, along with an accompanying Strategy Group on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to advise the Task Force. The Task Force brings together a diverse, non-partisan group of stakeholders to inform the goals of the White House Conference. This effort is not organized or endorsed by the White House, but represents an independent effort to convene voices from across the nation to help solve the issues at the heart of the Conference’s focus. 

This effort is supported by the Bia-Echo Foundation and World Central Kitchen. 

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About Food Systems for the Future

Food Systems for the Future (FSF) was founded to catalyze, enable, and scale market-driven agtech, foodtech, and innovative businesses across the value chain to improve nutrition outcomes in underserved and low-income communities. Through wraparound support to enterprises and broader ecosystem building, FSF addresses barriers to affordability, availability, and awareness of healthy, nutrient dense foods through our core services: financing, business acceleration, public policy & education, partnerships & community engagement, and nutrition expertise. FSF currently operates in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa. Learn more at fsfinstitute.net.

About Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is a leading U.S. institution focused on education, research, and public impact around the food system, from soil to society. The School’s five divisions and additional centers and institutes are renowned for the application of scientific evidence to national and international policy. Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier teaching and research universities in the U.S. Learn more at nutrition.tufts.edu/ 

About World Central Kitchen

Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) is first to the frontlines, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises while working to build resilient food systems with locally led solutions. WCK has served more than 70 million fresh meals to people impacted by natural disasters and other crises around the world. WCK’s Resilience Programs strengthen food and nutrition security by training chefs and school cooks; advancing clean cooking practices; and awarding grants to farms, fisheries, and small food businesses while also providing educational and networking opportunities. Learn more at wck.org.

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