Regrettably, the processed food industry wastes over $33 billion per year in advertising to lure people to consume sugar-laden, fast, junk foods. These processed foods are overloaded with hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats. While lacking in necessary nutrition, processed foods main ingredients are nutrient empty sugar, water, fat, flour, starch, artificial colorings and flavors. In 2002 alone, the processed food industry sold over $174 billion worth of this adulterated combination by fabricating thousands of cookies, crackers, puddings, cakes, soft drinks, and other concoctions.
The ensuing outcome is America has become a factory of wide spread obesity and chronic disease where a huge number of Americans are then sent on to the highly profitable pharmaceutical industry. In 2007, John Hopkins University School of Bloomberg School of Public Health warned if not halted the ever-increasing obesity crisis will explode by 2015 to 24% of children and adolescents being overweight or obese, and 75% of adults being overweight with 41% being obese.
Currently over fifty percent of people with severe weight problems have diabetes alone. At this time, the CDC and NIH have estimated over 7% of our population has a form of diabetes for a total of over 21 million people but nearly a third are undiagnosed. In 2007, indirect and direct medical cost of diabetes is estimated at over $174 billion. Presently these numbers are exploding daily and tangible statistics are difficult to obtain to keep up with the reality of our diabetes epidemic.
It is very distressing American society has chosen this lifestyle in view of the fact 1970’s nutritional experts research data revealed patterns of eating influence illnesses. By the 1980’s publicized research revealed populations consuming more fruits, vegetables, and high fiber foods experienced lower disease rates. Two well-researched examples are the whole grains, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetable, and olive oil rich Mediterranean diet, and the South Pacific diets with copious amounts of coconut oil. Even something as simple as water has a profound affect on health. Last year, Loma Linda University research revealed something as uncomplicated as 5 glasses of water per day reduces the risk of our number one cause of death heart attack by 50%. Since we have three decades worth of proven research on the benefits of a healthy diet, but are not applying this knowledge, one has to contemplate just what our goals are as a society.
Experts have estimated twice the current acreage would have to be planted for farms to grow the amount of fruits and vegetables necessary for Americans to consume healthy diets. Deplorably, American politicians stubbornly continue to pander to lobbied interests and subsidize the processed foods industries while blatantly disregarding the health and well being of American citizens. The ever mutating Amended H.R. 2419, the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act, otherwise known as the Farm Bill, is supposed to provide for the continuation of our country’s agricultural programs through 2012. For months the Senate and House have been wrangling over our country’s next five-year plan but when they finally agree on it, President Bush will probably veto it due to disagreements regarding crop subsidies. The Citizens Against Government Waste states there is no significant reform in HR 2419 and are encouraging the President to stick with his veto threat. The result of all this, is our nation has completely out of balance healthcare and agricultural economics policy which is now affecting the rest of our planet.
Debby Bolen, RN