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The American Health Crisis

There is a serious health crisis in the United States due to growing rates of obesity with an epidemic 40% expected morbid obesity rate in the next 15 years. Even more alarming is that obesity and associated nutritional imbalances have a direct link, in the elderly, to medical conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, sleep apnea, accelerated degenerative joint disease, spinal pathology, pain, and a shortened lifespan. In the younger population, this results in an increased witnessed rate of autism spectrum disorders in children, adult infertility, thyroid disorders, and chronic pain conditions. This leads to a decaying quality of life, a less productive work force, and greater work absenteeism. The increased disease and pain are threatening to bankrupt Medicare and other insurance providers as it becomes a growing cost burden to the healthcare system and U.S. economy.

To address these issues, there has been an undercurrent of change in society. Preventative medicine is becoming more acceptable and reimbursable by insurance providers. They realize that a $100 investment in prevention today can lower the risk of having to treat avoidable medical problems, costing thousands of dollars, years later. Starting in elementary education, schools are emphasizing proper nutrition. Large corporations are becoming more actively engaged in nutrition education and in the maintenance of healthy lifestyles for their employees. This expense and time investment up front will lead to less disease and disability in the long run.

Disease, or as I like to call it ‘dis ease”, is due to an imbalance in the body. Foods, in our bodies, undergo the same biochemical changes as medicines in terms as dictating how our body functions. Nutrition, along with proper lifestyle changes, can bring back that balance and potentially cure your “dis ease”! While this seems simple enough, there are many obstacles which make this process more complicated.

Proper nutrition is not as easy as just eating lots of fruits and vegetables. The soil of today is depleted of nutrients thereby reducing the bottom line nutritional value of the food we consume. The USDA found that in1950, the calcium level in broccoli was 66% greater than in 2003. Additionally, when the University of Texas tested fruit and vegetable nutrient content, there was 38% less riboflavin in 1999 compared to in 1950. Conventional farming practice combining the use of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified foods, further deplete overall nutrition and health.