The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. By elevating the voices of our volunteer advocates from across the country, ACS CAN influences legislative and regulatory solutions that will end cancer as we know it, for everyone.
ACS CAN is honored to join the Alliance to End Hunger. Scientific literature has shown that nutrition, physical activity, and body weight play a direct role in the risk, development, and survival of some types of cancer in adults. Additionally, food insecurity can be associated with poor diet quality, obesity and reduced fruit and vegetable intake. That’s why our organization supports policies that advance health equity by addressing food and nutrition insecurity for individuals, families, and communities. Having consistent access to affordable nutritious food has a direct impact on a person’s health and can help prevent, manage, and treat chronic diseases like cancer.
It’s why ACS CAN advocates for federal, state and local policies to support people’s ability to be healthy and access affordable, nutritious food. Such policies include maintaining strong nutrition standards in federal guidelines, access to universal free school meals for all children, providing financial incentives for fruits and vegetables as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and working within the healthcare system on Food is Medicine programs to treat and manage chronic diseases and reduce health disparities.
What children eat today affects their future cancer risks. Poor diet, including the consumption of high-calorie foods and beverages, is a major contributor to excess weight. School breakfast and school lunch programs offer students nutritious meals and may be the only meals many children eat during the day, especially those from families with limited incomes. Participation in school meal programs reduces food insecurity and improves the diet quality and academic performance of children. ACS CAN supports policies that increase access to free school meals for all children and strengthens the nutrition standards for these meals.
Two other ways that ACS CAN is working to reduce food and nutrition insecurity is by supporting the use of financial incentives to increase access to fruits and vegetables among SNAP participants and supporting Food is Medicine policies. Access to, affordability of, and consumption of nutritious food is a social determinant of health that plays an important role in addressing health disparities. Food insecurity programs, like SNAP, are essential for people with limited incomes to access food and Food is Medicine interventions create an essential link between health care and community care for patients. These policies aim to increase access to nutritious foods for individuals, families, and specifically for people living with or managing chronic diseases, like cancer.
We look forward to working with the Alliance to End Hunger and its diverse coalition of private sector, non-profits, faith-based organizations, universities, and others to address today’s food and nutrition insecurity needs. We share the alliance’s belief that ending hunger is both essential and possible, and we look forward to playing a role in achieving that mission.