Ending the Culture of Illness through Healthy Eating

Opinion

[Editor’s note: To tap the wisdom of our distinguished group of Xconomists, we asked a few of them to answer this question heading into 2013: What makes you optimistic?]

As a person who has worked in the healthcare field for over 25 years, I am extremely optimistic about the recent trend towards the democratization of healthful behavior and good nutrition. We have finally gotten to a point where there is growing recognition across the nation that we can turn around our culture of illness by teaching our children about healthful eating and exercise from an early age.

While there are still food ghettos in many parts of the nation, nascent attempts to improve health are everywhere, from laws limiting access to giant sodas (one of the very worst offenders) to health-promoting trucks that visit urban areas with vegetables and fruit to teach children that these foods are fun and healthy (see Truck Farm) to tax incentives for grocery stores to locate themselves in the aforementioned food ghettos to employer-sponsored programs that reward healthy behavior.

The State of California has dedicated an entire task force to making California the healthiest state in the nation by 2022, starting with a bike that makes smoothies and ending with a statewide set of initiatives that are broad-reaching and targeted to all citizens.

More than half of our costly diseases, which compromise our national security, economy and quality of life, can be avoided by having a culture of wellness and good health.  By making healthy eating/exercise as much a part of our culture as brushing our teeth every day, we will make America healthier, our nation stronger and ensure that we turn around the trend towards shorter life spans and infirm old age.

It is heartening to see an article like this where we see the hint of success in a reduced number of obese children across the country.  If, as Michael Jackson said, the children are our future, we will have a much better future if they are healthier than their parents.

Efforts to make good health fun and cool, and the fact that they may actually be working, make me optimistic.

Lisa Suennen is an independent consultant, board member of AngioScore, and a former managing member of the Psilos Group, as well as the co-author of Tech Tonics: Can Passionate Entrepreneurs Heal Healthcare With Technology? and author of the blog Venture Valkyrie. Follow @venturevalkyrie

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