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Health & Fit The US food system is killing Americans (Opinion)

05:05  03 august  2020
05:05  03 august  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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Americans benefit from highly trained personnel, remarkable facilities and access to the newest drugs and technologies. And Americans are sick — much sicker than many realize. More than 100 million adults — almost The significant impacts of the food system on well-being, health care spending

Another report confirms: we 're the United States of big meals, yet we do little to change our disastrous corporate food Even Americans who can physically access grocery stores that carry fresh and healthy food often Now the Taliban want to kill him, and the US is stalling on his visa. This isn't right.

This global pandemic has given a new meaning to the idea of American exceptionalism. The United States is faring far worse than other countries and shoulders a disproportionate share of global disease burden -- with 4% of the global population, yet, at the time of writing, nearly a quarter of global Covid-19 fatalities.

a woman standing in front of a refrigerator © Getty Images/iStockphoto

While much of the rationale has focused on our government's flat-footed response and poor public health infrastructure, this ignores a significant and underrecognized risk factor -- the exceedingly poor baseline health of our country's population.

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Food ad are the new cigarette ads, negatively affecting American consumption habits and leading to long-term health problems. The only way to combat their impact is to first acknowledge our addiction to excess, Dr. Sujit Sharma writes.

A particular danger is that food crises could develop on several continents at once, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the lead authors of the report. “The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” she said.

Among the most significant risk factors for hospitalization and death in Covid-19 are the presence of diet-related chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and obesity. America's starting point? Nearly three out of four American adults are overweight or obese.

And half of US adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes. A 2018 study found that only 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy, which is defined as having optimal levels of blood markers and pressures as well as waist circumference. Diet-related diseases are no longer the things you have to worry about down the road. In a pandemic environment, they could hasten death next week.

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Opinion Undercover Economist. US healthcare is literally killing people. The US healthcare system is a monument to perverse incentives, unintended consequences and political inertia. The dysfunction of the US healthcare system has also eaten away at American wellbeing in other ways.

The meme implies that the US killed 100 Native Americans . That figure isn't accurate although it does match many estimates of the total Native American population across both continents. Ergo, the descendants of Mayans in the present day might be offended to hear that the US is being blamed for

Poor metabolic health stems, in part, from poor-quality diets and poor nutrition. Just as baseline chronic disease portends a worse outcome for individuals with Covid-19, our food system is our country's pre-existing condition that leaves us all at greater risk. As doctors and chefs, we feel that now, more than ever, it is critical to address nutrition insecurity in America head on.

While food insecurity is about providing more food, nutrition insecurity is about providing the right food, so we and our children can build the metabolic heath we need to better survive this and future pandemics.

Most of our legacy food policies were born of national security concerns in the 1940s. They were conceptualized during a time of absolute caloric deprivation, when as many as 40% of military recruits were ineligible for service because of malnutrition and being underweight. Soon initiatives such as the National School Lunch Program, the modern food stamp program and other nutrition assistance programs followed.

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Food . Recipes. This system is exactly why a 2018 West Health Institute/NORC at the University of Chicago national poll found that 44% of Americans declined to This could be somewhat remedied if the US had a single-payer, universal healthcare system , like every other industrialized nation.

After those incidents, public opinion turned against gun ownership and Parliament passed stricter The US has one of the highest rates of death by firearm in the developed world, according to World 2010 show that Americans are 51 times more likely to be killed by gunfire than people in the United

In the private sector, subsidies enabled mass production and stockpiling of food in preparation for food scarcity during the next global conflict. The postwar industrialization of food led to a domestic food market rife with highly processed, carbohydrate-laden, shelf-stable and convenient foods.

Consumption of these cheap products increased, while consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables decreased. The American diet flipped from largely whole foods to highly processed foods requiring little time and cooking. The diet-related disease debacle we face today is one unintended outcome.

Programs born of good intent for reasons of national security and convenience no longer fit the bill. Instead of keeping our children and most vulnerable healthy and productive, we are now sicker than we were post-Depression. A 2018 report filed by Mission: Readiness, a council of retired admirals and generals who advocate for policies that help kids stay healthy, in school and out of trouble, stated that, "In the United States, 71 percent of young people between the ages of 17 and 24 do not qualify for military service," noting exceptionally high rates of obesity starting as early as age 2.

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America ’s addiction to cheap meat, fed on corn and soy in vast indoor factories, comes at a high cost to our own health and that of the planet. A new report shows toxins from suppliers to companies like Tyson Foods are pouring into waterways, causing marine life to leave or die.

The United States spends more per person on health care than any other industrialized country, yet our health outcomes, including overall life expectancy Our health care nonsystem is literally killing us . As the workarounds accumulate, they reveal how fully dysfunctional American health care is.

The numbers have flipped, and so have the health conditions. Fewer Americans are physically ready for work and war than in 1945, yet, instead of being underweight and malnourished, they are overweight and malnourished.

Now during this pandemic, our industrialized food system, optimized for efficiency over resilience, seems to be failing. One only has to witness farmers dumping milk and fresh produce and see the Depression-era-style lines wrapped around food banks to realize the depths of our food crisis. Now is the time to both address nutrition insecurity and support regional and specialty farmers.

While there are significant financial and distribution challenges that our food system is facing during the pandemic, there are still important things we can do right away to help improve nutrition security.

We see an opportunity to leverage the greatest impact in public health through changes to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which serves about 40 million Americans.

We can promote better health by valuing quality of calorie over quantity. Ten percent of SNAP dollars go toward the purchase of sugary sweetened beverages, which amounts to a roughly $7 billion subsidy toward sugar. This can easily be fixed by doubling down on the USDA's fresh produce incentive, which combines federal, state and philanthropic dollars to support the purchase of fruits and vegetables.

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Modeling studies suggest that combined incentive and disincentive programs are cost neutral, yet lead to significant gains in health outcomes and cost savings equaling roughly $10 billion over five years. SNAP has had early success with incentive-based pilot programs, which if expanded offer significant gains for public health.

Our response to food insecurity during the pandemic has focused largely on supporting food banks, but this is not working. In April, for example, 10,000 cars lined up in San Antonio in just one day, with thousands having waited overnight for their place in line.

In New York, people are waiting up to six hours in line at distribution sites. Executive leadership at the top emergency feeding organizations have called on Washington to expand SNAP, rather than drive people to already overtaxed and underresourced facilities.

Expanding SNAP offers the added benefit of stimulating local and regional economies. The USDA economic impact model suggests that every dollar spent on SNAP is an economic multiplier, yielding up to $1.50 in economic activity. As a large share of SNAP recipients live in rural regions, the subsidy often supports small business such as farmers, local food retailers and grocers. A 2016 study showed that this multiplier effect is even greater when SNAP dollars are redeemed at farmer's markets.

With food insecurity rampant in the midst of an economic down cycle, bolstering investments in SNAP benefits are a win-win. It would have been a boon to the San Antonio retail grocery economy if those 10,000 cars instead went to any of the many grocery stores and supermarkets with SNAP benefits to buy the food of their choice.

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Now is the opportunity to connect the dots between our food system and health. We have too long operated in silos to the detriment of both food and public health. Roughly 65% of adults receiving SNAP are on Medicaid, according to a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center.

We have the ability to track how food and nutrition incentives may support better health outcomes and drive cost savings, while supporting retail grocers and farmers. Once this link is drawn, we can rebuild a better system focused on health promotion and prevention rather than treating the long-term and unsustainable consequences of chronic disease.

The American food system is not broken -- it is functioning as designed, a system optimized for efficiency, not one optimized for resilience and nutrition. But our food system is killing us, and that happened long before Covid-19. It is bound to continue unless we take steps now to leverage food as medicine.

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