News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Make America fit again

No matter which party one aligns with, one ought to consider making health a national priority. Think of adopting the slogan: Make America Fit Again. This should cover the mental, physical, economical, and practical aspects of health, including citizens of all ethnicities, social status, and age.

Everyone will benefit from a government who has their health and wellness as a priority.

As a nation, America is falling behind other nations in its fitness and health. Our leadership has not stepped up to the plate addressing the issues. According to the Bloomburg health rankings, America ranks as the 35th country in health. The ranking considers factors such as life expectancy, disease rates, and negative points for obesity and lack of access to healthcare. Americans can now expect to live up to six fewer years than those in the top-tier nations in life expectancy.

America’s waistline is growing faster than it’s economy.

The average weight of an American has increased 15 pounds from statistics from the 1990s to 2015. Obesity afflicts around 45 percent of our population. Americans report eating 21 percent more calories now compared to 1961. This is the main cause of obesity. Why are we eating so much more? It’s the public health problem of having fast and processed foods so cheap, available, and tasty.

Diabetes, heart disease, strokes, dementia and many other conditions are directly tied to obesity. By one estimate, the U.S. spent $190 billion on obesity-related health-care expenses in 2005. This is a real pandemic. Let’s all consider the number of people who died from preventable obesity — not only the directly correlated, but also the ones who suffered from complications.

Our food system is highly political. The dairy industry, poultry farmers, cattlemen’s association and many more interest groups rule our nation’s nutritional policies. In fact many dietetic conferences are sponsored by companies such as Coca-Cola. Institutions are given deals, contracts, and incentives from companies to feed our children junk food. For example, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, the candy company, spent over $2 million in lobbying efforts when the 2018 nutrition guidelines were being written.

No matter where someone aligns on a political spectrum, whether the libertarian who wants people to make their own choices, or the liberal requesting public service to help people eat more nutritiously and lose weight — both agree something needs to be done. The next president-elect ought to serve our country a harsh dose of reality.

Focus healthcare on preventing obesity instead of treating the diseases which manifest because of it. Invest in food systems that nourish the body, rather than beat it down with processed junk. Get kids interested in activity, exercise, and nutrition at a young age. Time to get fit, to eat well, and end the disease of obesity and inactivity.


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