But the nature of the problem has also changed. In 1969, the conference focused on hunger and malnutrition and was preceded by prominent legislators and media reports drawing attention to severe malnutrition in poor communities. The 2022 conference is expected to be more nuanced, examining the health consequences of diets and the climate effect of food production and distribution.
The food industry is at the center of a system in which diets are strongly linked to widespread obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other problems despite efforts to improve them with healthier ingredients, smaller snacks and beverages and calorie-based packaging.
Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J., who co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to authorize and fund the conference, is wary of the food industry’s efforts. In a Sept. 2 letter to Domestic Policy Director Susan Rice, Booker raised concerns about package labels and the disclosure of added sugar, high levels of saturated fat, salt or sodium in this which he called ultra-processed foods.
Disclosure of salt and sweeteners
Booker said the current voluntary front-of-package labeling approach is not enough and called on the Food and Drug Administration to set mandatory targets to reduce excess salt and added sweeteners such as sugar to reduce diet-related disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 47% of US adults 18 and older have high blood pressure, and 20% of people ages 2 to 19 and 42% of adults have obesity which can put them at risk of risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Heart disease was the leading cause of death in 2020 and diabetes the eighth, according to the CDC.
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