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(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) In this opinion piece, Dariush Mozaffarian, a professor of nutrition science at Tufts University, writes that food is the number one cause of poor health in America. So, he says, “If we want to cut down on disease and achieve meaningful health care reform, we should make it a top nonpartisan priority to address our nation’s nutrition crisis.” Heart disease, stroke, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancers, immune function and brain health, he continues, are all influenced by what we eat. And most of the problems, he says, are caused by too few healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and too much salt, processed meats, red meats and sugary drinks. Yet nutrition is virtually ignored by our healthcare system and the healthcare debates; total federal spending for nutrition research across all agencies is only about $1.5 billion per year - compare that to more than $60 billion spent per year for industry research on drugs, biotechnology and medical devices. Mozaffarian highlights various policies that could successfully address our nation’s nutrition crisis, including: A national program to subsidize the cost of fruits and vegetables; a government-led initiative to reduce salt in packaged foods; companies that provide a range of financial and other benefits for healthier lifestyles; and, technology-based incentive platforms via Medicare, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). “By any measure,” he concludes, “fixing our nation’s nutrition crisis should be a nonpartisan priority. Policy leaders should learn from past successes such as tobacco reduction and car safety. Through modest steps, we can achieve real reform that makes healthier eating the new normal, improves health and actually reduces costs.”

Posted September 13th, 2017