Food Studies Institute             Trumansburg, NY 14886              607.387.6884             info@foodstudies.org

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THE PROBLEM

  • The United States is currently facing a health crisis of unprecedented proportions. Unhealthy diet is a major cause of health problems such as obesity and chronic disease, which are now increasingly beginning in childhood.

 

  • The youth of today are the first generation predicted to have a lower life expectancy than their parents.

 

  • Children as young as 7 years old have diseases formerly classed as those of adulthood, such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and many forms of cancer.

 

  • The number of children who are overweight or obese has more than tripled since 1980, being now more than 16% - that's over 9 million children in the U.S. As adults, over 30% of Americans are obese, 60 million people.

 

  • The U.S. spends more on health care than any other industrialized country, yet has one of the highest rates of life threatening disease. This cost totaled $1.5 trillion in 2002 and is still rising at an alarming rate.1

 

  • The impact of chronic disease is not restricted to the U.S. - it is global in reach.

 

  • 60% of deaths are due to chronic disease and 80% of these deaths are now thought to occur in low and middle income countries.

 

  • An estimated 1 billion people worldwide are overweight; that includes 22 million children under the age of five.

 

  • Each year, 2.6 million people die as a result of being overweight or obese; 4.4 million due to raised total cholesterol levels; and 7.1 million due to raised blood pressure - many of these deaths could be avoided with improvements to diet.2

 

1 Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/


2 World Health Organization, 'Preventing Chronic Disease: A Vital Investment', 05 October 2005, http://www.who.int/chp/chronic_disease_report/full_report.pdf