Lengthy earlier than my time as Secretary of the Division of Well being and Human Companies, I’ve labored to make sure older People – and all People – have entry to protected, nutritious meals.
As a member of the U.S. Home of Representatives for greater than 20 years, I labored tirelessly to help funding for applications that stop starvation and meals insecurity in our communities.
And as Lawyer Normal of the State of California, I fought to guard the Supplemental Diet Help Program (SNAP), defending entry to meals for many who want it most.
This work is important to advancing well being fairness. The proof is evident: Good diet helps minimize down on continual illness, which disproportionately hurts our most susceptible communities. That’s why we’ve partnered with companies just like the Meals and Drug Administration to cut back the extent of sodium in meals throughout the nation and mitigate continual illness that’s typically tied to salty meals.
I’m proud to proceed this work as HHS Secretary. And as we speak, I’m delighted to have fun the fiftieth anniversary of the Older People Act (OAA) Diet Program.
The Older People Act Diet Program was signed into regulation on March 22, 1972, creating the primary federal program to help the well being and well-being of older adults by means of diet companies. Many years later, the OAA Senior Diet Program – administered by the Administration for Group Residing (ACL) – continues to fund native companies and organizations that assist older adults entry wholesome meals and different sources in order that they will stay unbiased, effectively, and related of their houses and communities.
Every day, about 5,000 diet program suppliers serve an estimated 1 million meals to older People throughout the nation. The applications deal with underserved communities and others in biggest want — individuals with low revenue, these in rural areas, and members of minority communities, together with these with limited-English proficiency. These meals make a distinction – over half of contributors inform us that the meal they obtain by means of this system provides 50% or extra of their complete meals for the day, and greater than 70% report that they eat more healthy meals due to this system.
However the OAA Senior Diet Program is about greater than entry to wholesome meals – it additionally supplies diet screening, schooling, and counseling, in addition to an important hyperlink to well being sources, social connections, and an array of residence and community-based companies that help older adults’ general well-being. The house-delivered meal program additionally supplies older adults with a chance for social interplay with a pleasant face that they could not in any other case see. And congregate meals – the place older adults can collect to eat with others of their neighborhood – present invaluable alternatives for significant connections that preserve the well being of contributors.
Regardless of the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic over the previous two years, the OAA Senior Diet Program has continued to offer these important companies. Native applications pivoted to make use of versatile, artistic approaches to proceed serving their communities, from curbside meal occasions and partnerships with eating places to safe-distanced doorstep meals drops and digital diet schooling.
As we commemorate this milestone anniversary of the OAA Senior Diet Program, I wish to commend the organizations and people who run native senior diet applications throughout the nation daily – and the perseverance of the older People they serve. Now as Secretary of HHS, I’ll maintain working as I’ve completed all through my profession to make sure all People have entry to protected, nutritious meals and the companies wanted to help general well-being. Collectively, we’ll construct on 50 years of progress and shut the fairness gaps that plague our well being care system. And we’ll proceed innovating to make sure that, because the older American inhabitants grows, we will present the help they should age independently of their communities, with dignity, and in good well being.