North Carolina -- May 25, 2023: In an effort to prioritize the well-being of its children and families, North Carolina has unveiled a comprehensive state action plan designed to address the food and nutrition needs of its residents.

The plan, which is set to be implemented in 2023, focuses on three key areas: increasing the reach of nutrition programs, building connections between healthcare and nutrition supports, and enhancing breastfeeding support and rates. This ambitious initiative is spearheaded by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) in collaboration with various stakeholders and community partners.

One of the primary goals of the action plan is to expand the reach of NCDHHS' nutrition programs. These programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), play a crucial role in ensuring access to nutritious food for vulnerable populations. By increasing the reach of these programs, the state aims to reduce food insecurity and improve the overall health outcomes of children and families across North Carolina.

Additionally, the action plan aims to build stronger connections between healthcare and nutrition supports. Recognizing the interconnectedness of nutrition and health, the state seeks to bridge the gap between medical care and access to nutritious food. This initiative involves fostering collaboration between healthcare providers, community clinics, and nutrition programs. By integrating nutrition screening, counseling, and referrals into healthcare settings, North Carolina aims to address both the immediate and long-term health needs of its residents.

Another crucial aspect of the state action plan is the focus on increasing breastfeeding support and rates. Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits for infants and mothers alike. It enhances immune function, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and fosters a strong bond between mother and child. However, breastfeeding rates in North Carolina have historically been lower than the national average. To address this issue, the action plan includes initiatives such as breastfeeding education, lactation support services, and workplace accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. By creating a supportive environment, the state aims to increase breastfeeding rates and promote optimal infant health.

By increasing the reach of NCDHHS' nutrition programs, building connections between healthcare and nutrition supports, and enhancing breastfeeding support and rates, the state aims to address food insecurity, improve health outcomes, and promote a healthier future for its residents.

The success of this initiative relies on the collaboration of various stakeholders, including government agencies, community organizations, healthcare providers, and individuals. By working together, North Carolina can create a more resilient and nourished population, setting an example for other states to follow.

As the action plan unfolds throughout 2023 and beyond, its impact on the lives of North Carolina children and families will be closely monitored. With a holistic approach to addressing food and nutrition needs, the state hopes to lay the foundation for a healthier and more prosperous future, where all residents have access to the nourishment they need to thrive.



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