A Benton teen is making a trip to the U.S. Capitol to bring youth perspective to White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.
Next week, the White House will bring together federal lawmakers, state leaders, local advocates and a variety of other stakeholders for the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The conference, to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 28, comes more than 50 years since the last White House Conference on Nutrition, which resulted in the expansion of critical nutrition assistance and hunger safety net programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.
American Heart Association teen advocate, Bella Crowe, age 15, of Benton, will attend the conference in Washington, D.C., which provides an opportunity to look at modernizing our nation’s approach to provide equitable access to nutritious food and physical activity through efforts by the private sector and at all levels of government.
“Too many teens don’t have access to what they need to support their long-term physical health,” said Crowe. “I look forward to bringing my voice to Washington to ensure my peers across the country have access to options that allow them to make healthy food and activity choices that are right for them now, so that when they become adults, they will have healthy habits to last a lifetime.”
Bella was invited by the White House and will represent the Association’s nationwide network of patients and advocates who are currently working to bring attention to the critical issues of child nutrition and healthy school meals for all. Advocates like Bella have been urging Congress to pass meaningful child nutrition reauthorization legislation, safeguard kids’ access to healthy school meals and strengthen science-based nutrition standards.
“Improving diet and increasing physical activity are two of the most important behaviors to optimize our cardiovascular health and well-being,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive of the American Heart Association. “The White House conference presents an historic opportunity to address food scarcity, nutrition insecurity and insufficient physical activity in ways that can achieve equitable health for all.”
The conference comes at a time when millions of children are facing a “nutrition cliff,” having lost automatic access to nutritious meals at school this fall. In July, a U.S. House of Representatives committee advanced the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act, which would reauthorize federal child nutrition programs and help guarantee that children are not only fed but have access to the healthy meals they need to learn. Providing healthy school meals for students at no charge reduces food insecurity, improves children’s diets and academic performance, generates critical revenue for schools and decreases stigma.
The American Heart Association hopes the White House conference will urge Congress and states to act quickly to ensure all children have access to healthy school meals at little or no cost.
Learn more about the conference at this link.