The Big Fat Elephant

“The American way of eating has become the elephant in the room in the debate over health care.”

That’s just what I’ve been thinking. In our big discussion over health care reform, why don’t we address actual health? In Michael Pollan’s article in today’s New York Times titled Big Food vs. Big Insurance, he argues we must address obesity, diabetes and other chronic (and expensive) conditions linked to our American way of eating.

In one stunning sentence, Pollan writes, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat ‘preventable chronic diseases.'” Really? That’s amazing to consider the amount of health care we would NOT need to debate how to pay for if people ate healthier. Perhaps it seems too insensitive for the President to be discussing how bad it is for people to eat processed, fatty meals. But we need to find the best ways to keep talking about how we eat in this debate or we’re missing a major ingredient in high health care costs. Whatever side of the political debate you’re on, I presume most people agree that healthier Americans benefit us all.

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