Public Impact Initiative: Food is Medicine

  Public Impact Initiative

Our country faces a national nutrition crisis. Our food system is a major cause of poor health, ever-rising healthcare costs, strangled government budgets, diminished economic competitiveness of American business, reduced military readiness, and hunger and disparities. Americans of all backgrounds see these problems, and are hungry for and value leadership to create lasting solutions.

Fortunately, advances in nutrition and policy science now provide a road-map for addressing our nutrition crisis. The solutions are win-win, promoting better well-being, lower health care costs, greater sustainability, reduced disparities, improved economic competitiveness, and greater national security. Multiple sectors have important roles to play, including farmers, retailers/supermarkets, restaurants, food manufacturers, worksites, schools, universities, life insurance, media, advocacy groups, and the healthcare sector.

The Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy is collaborating with Congressional leaders, advocacy partners, and other key stakeholders on a bipartisan Food is Medicine initiative. Our goals are to raise awareness of the tremendous impact of food on national well-being, share the remarkable advances in both science and technology that inform priorities, and provide trusted science on actionable and impactful solutions.

We will be presenting many of our Food is Medicine policy solutions at our event marking the 50th Anniversary of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health on October 3-4, 2019. For details about the event, please visit: 

Our Food is Medicine "best buy" solutions span 6 domains:

Research & Innovation Healthcare Reform Economic Incentives Schools Worksite Wellness Standards & Labeling

Fundamental discovery

Electronic records

Retail consumer incentives

School meal standards

Technology wellness platforms

Additives (trans fat, salt, sugar)


Medical education

Industry incentives (R&D, marketing)

Competitive food standards Healthy food incentives Marketing to children
Bioactives F&V Rx Govt. food programs (SNAP, WIC) F&V provision Cafeteria nudges Menu and front-of-pack labels
Big data, technology Medically tailored meals SSB, sugar, salt taxes School gardens Meal & vending standards Sensible ingredient labels, food definitions
Policy translation Patient incentives   Chef-based programs   Qualified health claims
Public-private partnerships Billing & quality metrics        
National Institute of Nutrition          

In addition, the evidence supports a need for new structures for multi-agency coordination across relevant departments and groups, including USDA, CMS, FDA, EPA, NIH, CDC, DOD, DOE, VA, Commence, and more.