The Healthy Nation Coalition is a nonprofit advocacy and education organization working to modify national nutrition policy so that it is founded upon the attainment of adequate essential nutrition for all sectors of the U.S. population.
The HNC launched in October 2010 out of shared concern that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans were not having the intended impact on rates of obesity and other chronic diseases. The ongoing focus of the Guidelines has been to prevent chronic disease; however, the science indicates that there is no general dietary pattern that can accomplish this across a diverse population. Prevention of chronic disease through dietary and lifestyle modification is best left to healthcare practitioners and their individual patients. Our position is that the Guidelines must return their focus to ensuring that Americans meet their complete nutritional needs at all stages of life. To accomplish this, the Coalition seeks to educate and assist healthcare professionals, policy makers, legislators, and the public.
In addition, we are creating a coalition of supporters to speak out against the direction the Guidelines have been taking since their inception in 1980, and to offer this alternative approach. Our membership is broad-based and includes scientists, healthcare professionals, members of the food and agricultural community, health advocacy groups, and most of all, concerned citizens.
To help achieve our goals, in 2015 we composed a letter that we delivered to the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, selected policymakers, and interested media outlets. The letter is copied below (with a link to the pdf as well). If you wish to sign on, please use this quick form to add your information to the letter.
We are adding to the momentum building in the national media and among other health advocacy organizations demanding that our policy makers critically examine the process used to develop the DGA. We suggest a slightly different approach – we have as our primary goal changing the focus of future Guidelines to that of ensuring adequate nutrition for all Americans.
Ultimately, we hope to positively impact our food, nutrition, and health systems by developing an understanding and awareness of the social, cultural, and economic forces that not only impact American’s access to nutritional information and to the foods needed to support health, but shape American’s attitudes about nutrition and relationships to food.
I encourage you to share this with friends and colleagues whom you feel may be interested in this critically important issue.
Pamela Schoenfeld, M.S., R.D., L.D.N.
Executive Director, Healthy Nation Coalition
Adele Hite, M.P.H. , R.D.
Chair, Public Policy
The rise in obesity in America began after the release of the first Dietary Guidelines.
Data from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Center for Health Statistics, Division of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1976–1980 Through 2007–2008.
Everyone deserves reasonable access to accurate information about nutrition and how food choices influence health. However, the health needs of our diverse population are not being met by current food policies and by standardized nutrition recommendations.
A sense of community has arisen around questioning our nation’s current approach to food and nutrition. The Healthy Nation Coalition has garnered support from a wide range of interested parties in the academic, public health, medical, agricultural, educational, and philanthropic communities. We reject the notion that there is one approach to diet that works for all Americans. We believe that by joining these communities with other efforts underway in food system reform and government accountability, we can foster positive changes in our food, nutrition, and health systems that will benefit all Americans.
Our practices, values, and beliefs about food, nutrition, and health are multi-faceted and idiosyncratic. In addition, each of us—while having much in common—is a unique metabolic puzzle. How do we encourage progress in our food, nutrition, and health systems—which are equally complex and intertwined—with an understanding that food is not just about nutrients and that individual nutritional needs can be highly varied?
The Healthy Nation Coalition will promote three key concepts to address that question:
1) Essential Nutrition – a movement to help individuals and families better understand and meet their own essential nutritional needs at their life stage(s). This is our first and foremost goal and we are actively working to effect change in this area.
2) Open Nutrition – a movement to raise awareness regarding the laws, policies, institutions, and other social, economic, and cultural forces that impact access to nutrition information and development of sustainable systems that produce foods that support
3) Cultural Nutrition – a movement to foster an understanding of the cultural forces that shape our nutrition beliefs and our relationships to food and food communities.
Help us create thoughtful progress towards a better nourished and healthier future for all Americans.
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