Experts in nutrition, food and health recently testified in a audience on nutrition, arguing that a poor diet creates a “public health crisis”.
âMany more Americans are sick than they are healthy, and the primary driver is our diet,â says Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Mozaffarian points to the shocking prevalence of the disease – one in two American adults suffers from diabetes or prediabetes – as evidence of a government failure to deal with diet-related illnesses.
The effects of poor nutrition are particularly strong in low-income communities of color.
âAs an African American researcher, mother and nutrition educator, I have seen the impact of poor nutrition,â says Angela Odoms, professor at Cornell University. Black Americans, Odoms testifies, are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes by a doctor, 2.3 times more likely to be hospitalized for lower limb amputations, and almost four times more likely to develop kidney failure than men. White Americans.
The same problems persist for Native Americans, many of whom live in “conditions comparable to those in developing countries,” according to Donald Warne, a public health expert at the University of North Dakota. âA significant national effort,â says Warne, âis needed to promote collaboration and resolve this public health crisis. “
âThese conditions are fatal, costly and preventable,â says Mozzafarian. âOur country spends US $ 237 billion each year in excess health care costs for diabetes and loses an additional US $ 90 billion in lost productivity. “
âRather than the large financial outlays and decreased quality of life associated with treating complications from diabetes and heart disease,â asks Warne, âwouldn’t it make more sense to invest in healthy eating in the first place? “
A recent Government Accountability Office report finds that more than 200 federal programs to address nutrition are poorly coordinated. The report concludes that the federal government must find a broader strategy to link these programs and tackle chronic disease head-on.