Medical Costs Related To Foods We Eat
America’s processed food industry is taking American government subsidies and producing food, which has led to an epidemic of obesity and ill health. Chronic diseases are costing all of us 1.7 trillion dollars (75% of 2.3 trillion dollars), according to Michael Pollen’s article in the New York Times correlating the high cost of health care to the the lack of attention to nutritional wellness and the food American’s eat.
Bill Evslin, MD a leading pediatric physician at the Makai Ola Integrative Health Center on Kauai, Hawaii, agrees with Pollen and highlights these staggering statistics in Pollen’s article: the US at 37th among developed nations in healthcare outcomes; obesity is the major culprit for cardiovascular disease and diabetes; prostate, colon and breast cancer are now thought to be caused by the western diet.
Our Nutritional Wellness Is At Risk
Obesity has risen from 13% in 1987 to 33% in 2004 with 66% considered overweight. This places the US as the fattest nation in history of the world.
Evslin says, “Fix our food and we would go a long way to fix America’s health care cost problem. Michael Pollan’s point though is that this is not so easy. The processed food industry has enormous influence and even in Obama’s crusade on health he was not able to take on the food industry at the same time as he went after the insurance companies.”
The US Diet Changes Cultural Nutritional Wellness
Evslin lists several studies commonly used to prove the American diet of processed foods increases chronic diseases when introduced to other cultures:
“In the 70s, a large study followed Japanese men and their diets as they moved from Japan to Hawaii and then to the west coast of the US. Heart disease rose with exact proportion to their adoption of the western diets that directly affects nutritional wellness.
BBC News reported recently that the British Journal of Psychiatry published data on 3500 government employees who were followed over five years. They found that those eating a diet “high in processed foods had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate very few processed foods.
They then subdivided those who were in the whole food group into two subgroups; those who ate mostly whole foods and those who ate somewhat less whole foods. Those eating the higher quantity of whole foods had 26% less depression than those who just ate somewhat less.”
Do The Right Thing To Promote Nutritional Wellness
Proper diet and adequate exercise lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and the myriad of diseases possibly caused by obesity. A diet high in fruit, vegetables, whole grain foods and low in meats, and exercise 3.5 hours a week will have positive effects on your health and medical costs.
Dr. Evslin’s bottom line is – The cost of medical care could be decreased dramatically if we stopped poisoning ourselves with our food and unfortunately “poison” is probably not too strong a word.”
See Dr. Evslin’s complete article in Hawaii’s Inspiration, Spring 2012 issue.