public health


Photo: grobery/CC BY SA 2.0 (Flickr)

What’s for Dinner? A Preview of the People, Process, and Politics Updating Federal Dietary Guidelines

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Months behind schedule, two federal departments have officially kicked off the process for writing the 2020-2025 iteration of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Updated and reissued every five years, these guidelines are the nation’s most comprehensive and authoritative set of nutrition recommendations. And although the process is meant to be science-based and support population health—and has historically done so, with some notable exceptions—there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Trump administration is preparing to pitch a few curveballs.

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Photo: grobery/CC BY SA 2.0 (Flickr)
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Photo: Daniels, Gene/ The U.S. National Archives

Trump Administration Takes Aim at Public Health Protections

, Energy analyst

In a new regulatory effort, the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims to be working to increase consistency and transparency in how it considers costs and benefits in the rulemaking process. Don’t be fooled. Under the cover of these anodyne goals, the agency is in fact trying to pursue something far more nefarious. Indeed, what the EPA is actually working to do is formalize a process whereby the decision of whether or not to go ahead with a rule is permanently tilted in industry’s favor. How? By slashing away at what the agency can count as “benefits,” resulting in a full-on broadside to public health. Read more >

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Photo: Michael Vadon/CC BY SA 4.0

Trump Administration Declares Poverty is Over, We Can All Go Home Now

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Picture it: The loading dock of the city’s largest food bank is shrouded in silence. Pallets of food are stacked inside, draped with cobwebs, waiting for volunteers who will never come to unload them. The food bank is now a relic of a bygone era—when people befallen by any number of ills needed help feeding their families. From a window above, a boy’s face appears. “Haven’t you heard?” he shouts. “Poverty is over!”

Okay, okay—I know this is absurd. But does the Trump administration?

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Photo: Samuel Zeller/Unsplash
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Across the United States, Local Food Investments Link Harvest to Health

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Earlier this month, we took a deep, data-driven dive into the state of food and farming across the US with the release of our 50-State Food System Scorecard. Although the country as a whole isn’t exactly the poster child for healthy and sustainable food systems (far from it), there’s a lot of variability in what’s happening at farms, grocery stores, and dinner tables from one state to the next—and we’re here to learn from it.

Of course, we couldn’t assess the food system without taking a good, hard look at how it impacts its end users: us. Read more >

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What the Failed House Farm Bill Got Wrong About SNAP and Work

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

The House of Representatives voted down a farm bill last Friday. It was a bill that lived and died by its insistence on subjecting participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) to a slew of unnecessary and misguided work requirements. Had it passed and been signed into law, the bill would have effectively reduced or eliminated benefits for millions of people. And though it promised to channel the resulting “savings” into state-administered job training programs, this proposal, too, was deeply flawed and betrayed serious misperceptions about the populations that participate in SNAP. Read more >

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