New guidelines released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) underscore the need for expanding access to nutritional supplements, as more Americans look for ways to promote their health during the COVID-19 health crisis. Specifically, USDA’s guidelines recommend folic acid supplements for pregnant women and women who could become pregnant in order to prevent birth defects.
“This reinforces what we already know: that access to proper nutrition, especially for children and pregnant mothers, is critical to long-term health,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of NPA. “Congress needs to do more to ensure Americans have access to products that support their health, and expanding health savings accounts and programs like WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) to include nutritional supplements is the best way to make that happen. This report provides a real world look at how supplements are an integral part of the American diet at all stages of development.”
In a report accompanying guidelines, the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee expressed concerns about “under-consumption of vitamin D, calcium, dietary fiber, and potassium” among children. The report also emphasized that food insecurity affecting more than 37 million people, including 6 million children is a problem that disproportionately affects “low-income, Black, non-Hispanic, and Hispanic households.”
NPA supports legislation that would expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the WIC programs to cover dietary supplements. NPA also supports expanding Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars on nutritional and dietary supplements. The WIC program provides 8 million American families the ability to purchase healthy and nutritious foods.
For more information, visit https://www.npanational.org/.