How to fix the U.S. debt crisis

By Alive & Well

Hmmm an interesting title for a wellness blog, no? I’ve just finished reading this fantastic NY Times article by Mark Bittman – an opinion and food columnist – and I wanted to share it with you.

[Note: You may need to register to view the article, but it’s free and they don’t spam you.]

The Fiscal Cost of 'Lifestyle Diseases'He’s been urging Americans to change the way they eat for a very long time – and now, he’s telling them to do it in order to fix their country’s debt crisis.

By preventing ‘lifestyle diseases’ such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, instead of treating them after they show up, he argues that America could save a TRILLION dollars in the coming years.

That would be handy.

Undoubtedly many other countries with Western diets could do the same – including Australia, which is thought to have the highest level of childhood obesity in the world. Yowsers.

The article highlights that:

  • Type 2 diabetes, which is entirely preventable, will cost an estimated US$500 billion a year by 2020, when half of all Americans will have it, or its precursor.
  • The ‘healthcare’ system in the U.S. (which should really be known as the ‘disease’ care system) costs about US$2.3 trillion annually now. What will it cost by 2020?
  • Heart disease is considered to be at least 90% lifestyle-related. So let’s get into eating more plant-based foods, drinking water and moving daily before it gets to the point where surgery is required.

As Bittman says, “If we can put a man on the moon, we can create an environment in which an apple is a better and more accessible choice than a Pop-Tart.”

Hear hear.

How can we all help each other to make better choices? What role can individuals, communities and governments play to facilitate this?