Taking a bite out of food oversight just bites us back

July 13, 2017 - 9:32am

Little to nothing in the Affordable Care Act or the Republican replacement effort gets at the issue of reducing health care costs by stopping the true cause of runaway spending: the enormous increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases.

Chronic disease is increasing seven times faster than our population: In 1974, Type 2 diabetes affected 2.2 million Americans. Today? 29 million! Hip and knee replacements have increased annually from 64,000 to over 1 million. You get
the picture.

Why has this happened? Our genes haven’t changed. Our habits and culture have. We need a massive effort to save America ... and we think a culture change and a new set of rules instituted by the government (if your representatives have the cojones) are needed.

Regulations Work; Lack of Regulations Causes Big Problems
Research looking at the safety and effectiveness of government food regulations has shown that responsible rules and regulations can pay big dividends — not only when it comes to saving lives and preventing the suffering of millions
of YOU, but also by saving big bucks and making our health care system run more smoothly and efficiently.

Let’s start with a look at how food policies could, and do, affect those suffering from heart disease.

In a recent study from the University of Liverpool School of Public Health, researchers estimated that in the United States a 10 percent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages could prevent 31,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease every
year. Clearly, if government policy and regulations helped reduce consumption of sugary beverages, the benefits would be huge. But there’s no reason to stop with policies that impact sugary drinks ... The researchers also found that instituting a 10 percent subsidy for fruit and vegetables nationally could potentially result in 150,500 fewer CVD deaths in the U.S. by 2030. A 30 percent fruit and vegetable subsidy targeting only food stamp recipients was estimated to avert
35,100 CVD deaths and erase economic disparities in health outcomes; a mass media campaign to change dietary habits might avert 25,800 CVD deaths. Instituting all of the above could improve the health of the nation and the wealth of the country.

Plus, as we have reported before, the scheduled 2018 ban on trans fats could immediately produce more that $60 billion in annual health care savings!

The Bill for NOT Acting Nearly 800,000 Americans die annually from cardiovascular diseases. An appalling $1 BILLION dollars a day is spent on medical costs and lost productivity related to heart disease and stroke.

By 2030, annual direct medical costs associated with CVD will hit more than $818 billion; lost productivity costs could exceed $275 billion. We can and must improve on those numbers, since most cardiovascular disease is preventable!

What to Do
Personally and as a country we need to stand up to the multibillion-dollar marketing campaigns of businesses that care only about their profits and get the word out about the biased studies that the beverage and food industry spew out annually.

The country needs to launch public health information campaigns to let us know this is a war for America’s survival, and promote laws that reign in excesses. Parents and all individuals must simply say “no” to stuff that is poisoning their
health and the health of their children.

We suggest a three-prong effort:
1. Write your local and national representatives asking that they stand up for your right to have healthy, unadulterated food; enact regulations that ban food advertising to kids; support the trans fat ban; and consider creating incentives to
buy healthier foods.
2. Change YOUR purchasing habits. Nothing talks directly to companies like a loss of business. Don’t buy sugary beverages or highly processed foods.
3. Educate your kids about making healthy, tasty food choices. If you can help them love foods that love them back, you’ll be promoting a healthier, happier future for them and that can help keep cardiovascular disease from bankrupting
the country.
* * *
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.
© 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

This column is sponsored by your local choice for healthy lifestyle products -Nutter's Bulk and Natural Foods
365 36th St. W, Prince Albert, SK
Phone: (306) 922-3835

Join the Discussion

paNOW is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules: Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic, be responsible, share your knowledge, and please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. See full commenting rules.