National Nutrition Issues

CED-78-7: Published: Dec 8, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 8, 1977.

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The United States is fortunate in that most citizens have access to nutritious, safe food. Its citizens are among the best fed in the world, and it has many government agencies and programs designed to assure food supply, to make food available to those in need, and to ensure food safety. Over the past 10 years the Nation's concern about food has increasingly turned from basic supply to adequate nutrition. Inadequate nutrition has become more and more linked with this country's leading causes of death. As these links have been better defined, it is apparent that adequate nutrition is an integral part of preventive disease protection. The United States has no formal, written nutrition policy. Rather, it has a de facto policy which is, in effect, a piecemeal series of programs instituted over the years, often because of a sense of emergency and with little thought given to its interaction or relationship with existing programs. The existing programs clearly would be part of any structured nutrition policy, albeit in different forms. Issues that should be considered include: the extent of the role nutrition considerations should play in food and health policy decisions; whether a more formal nutrition policy should be adopted with explicitly stated goals and objectives; whether a central authority or a formal coordinating group for nutrition matters should be established; and how far the government should intercede in promoting dietary practices.

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