New Year’s Health Resolution, Eat REAL Food
Facct: More Than Half of All Americans Are Chronically Ill
The cost of health care in the US has increased over the past year accounting for 17% of GDP. But even though the US spends more than $3-T on health care each year, it is the worst performing system ranked by multiple aspects of healthcare.
The research demonstrates 50% of Americans are living with chronic illness. This statistic is astounding. Half the people in the US have some type of chronic illness.
According to study authors Elizabeth Reisinger Walker, PhD., an assistant research professor, and Dr. Benjamin Druss, professor at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University:
“The health of individuals in the USA is increasingly being defined by complexity and multi-morbidity, the co-occurrence of two or more chronic medical conditions.”
Opioid addiction appears to be a Key significant contributor to declining life expectancy in the US. In all, more than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, a rise of 11% from Y 2014.
Heroin deaths rose by 23% between Y’s 2014 and 2015, deaths from synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, rose by 73K, while deaths from prescription opioids like Oxycontin and Vicodin rose by 4%.
Rx pain killers alone killed 17,536 people last year.
Robert Anderson, who oversees death statistics at the CDC said recently: “I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this. Certainly not in modern times.”
As noted in a 2014 study, childhood obesity worsened between Y’s 1999 and 2012. This included all classes of obesity, but in particular severe obesity, which poses the greatest risk to a child long-term.
The CDC report concludes that America’s battle against “the bulge”, and especially childhood obesity has indeed failed.
According to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden: “The data speak for themselves. If you look for the goal we set for ourselves, and look at what happened, we did not achieve it.”
Rather than lowering obesity rates for toddlers and children, the obesity rate has grown since Y 2009, and now exceeds 17%.
This refutes any claims that First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” much hyped and lauded campaign, launched in Y 2010, has made a dent in childhood obesity. It has been a miserable failure because it never integrated foundational nutrition advice due to corporate conflicts.
Her campaign focused on exercise rather than addressing children’s diets.
According to recent research, nearly 60%, in fact of the food Americans eat is ultra-processed, and less than 1 percent of daily calories comes from vegetables.
More than 50% of what the average American eats in any given day are convenience foods that can be bought at your local gas station. And, those ultra-processed foods account for 90% of the added sugar consumption in the US
This kind of diet is hardly going to result in healthy children, and until this changes, we’re not going to see any dramatic improvement in childhood obesity or childhood disease rates.
Sadly, the failure of Obama’s anti-obesity campaign was the result of massive interference and manipulation by the junk food industry, discussed in my article, “How the First Lady’s Organic Garden Became a Junk Food Campaign.”
United Nations Calls Out Junk Food as Real Culprit in Malnutrition
Obesity is not the only problem associated with a processed junk food diet, we also have malnutrition.
According to the UN the impact of processed food on public health is “alarming.”
As reported by Civil Eats: “Earlier this Fall the United Nations General Assembly was told that, despite all the high-profile work being done around the globe to fight hunger and malnutrition, ‘the world is not on track to reach globally agreed nutrition targets.’
‘Today’s food systems are dominated by industrial food production and processing’ … coupled with trade policies that result in ‘large food corporations … flooding the global market with nutrient poor yet energy-dense foods that are relatively inexpensive.'”
Sadly, a whole lot of people do not know this, but the right to adequate food is part of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1976 International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights.
In countries that have ratified them, these are both legally binding agreements that provide a framework for legal action when these rights are violated.
Notably, the US never ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights.
In participating countries, lawsuits against the government have led to a variety of food entitlement programs for children and other vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities and prisoners. Most importantly, these agreements also address nutrition, not just availability of cheap junk food. In other words, they provide a human rights’ framework for access to REAL food, not just denatured “belly-fillers.”
REAL Food and Good Health go Hand in Hand: “Why the need for civil society groups to sue governments over the right to food? A significant part of what’s gone wrong, Elver explains, is that international trade policies have allowed large food corporations to sell lots of soda, fast food and other high-calorie, nutrient-poor products made with cheap refined grains, corn sweetener and vegetable oil … [M]uch of this production is also controlled globally — in terms of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides — by a very few large companies.”
The lack of access to REAL (nutritious )food is an indicator of socioeconomic inequality, and when a bag of chips is cheaper than an apple, this inequality ripples out into our health statistics. We now know that this kind of highly sugar intensive, saturated fat heavy and salty food really makes you sick.
The fact that the US never ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights means that in the US, the right to food is a policy issue, not a human right, and Americans cannot take the government to court over lack of food access or lack of nutritional value.
Access to programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for underprivileged women and children would also be quite different if the US supported the right to food concept.
So, in order to protect and ensure the human right to adequate food, the global community must move away from the industrial model toward more sustainable systems.
We cannot sustain a global population on commodity crops like Corn and Soybeans, and the United States’ health statistics is a perfect demonstration of what happens when you try.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively in the New Year!