The obesity rates in the US are worse than ever, and the economic inequality continues to worsen. Can these trends be related?
In a newly published New York Times article Dr. Ludwig and Dr. Rogoff describe the obesity epidemic in the US as out of control, with no signs of abating. Low-income Americans and racial minorties have the highest obesity rates. Obesity and diet-related diseases are costing a fortune, the annual cost of diabetes alone in 2017 was $327 billion. With insulin now costing up to $900 a month it hits low-income people very hard.
It is vital to turn the obesity epidemic around. The authors are convinced that a healthy diet is key and that we know the broad outlines of what it contains:
The broad outlines of a healthy diet are clear. A recent study in JAMA found that people can lose meaningful amounts of weight and lower their risk of heart disease by limiting sugar, refined grains, and processed foods.
They suggest five steps for the government to take:
- First, establish a federal commission to coordinate obesity policy
- Second, adequately fund obesity research into innovative approaches for prevention and treatment, beyond the conventional focus on eating less and moving more.
- Third, impose a tax on processed foods, and use the proceeds to subsidize whole foods.
- Fourth, prioritize the quality of the nutrition in the National School Lunch Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
- Fifth, ban junk food advertising to young children, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and practiced in some European countries.
Read the full article here: