2019 marked the 50th Anniversary of the first – and still only – 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health. Commissioned by President Richard Nixon and chaired by Dr. Jean Mayer, the conference sparked crucial progress in U.S. food and nutrition policy focused on hunger, changing the national landscape and conversation.
Our food system and the associated challenges have changed dramatically in the past 50 years. Major issues include obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases, rising healthcare costs, continuing food insecurity and growing disparities, and challenges to sustainability.
To honor the 50th Anniversary of the White House Conference and, importantly, look ahead to the current challenges and potential solutions, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University and the Nutrition Department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health co-hosted anniversary events in Boston and Washington DC in October 2019.
Through a series of panel discussions and keynote speakers, the 50th Anniversary events:
- Reflected on the successes of the 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health and the policies enacted in its wake.
- Surveyed the current state of new food and nutrition challenges and associated policies in the U.S. for health, food justice, and sustainability.
- Outlined the policy solutions for the future, including actions for the healthcare system, government strategies, food environment, business innovation, sustainability, and food justice.
We look forward to publishing a report on the 50th anniversary, summarizing the history of the original conference and the anniversary events, and outlining policy recommendations for the future.