Money, Politics, and Health Care: A Disease-Creation Economy – Part II

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Last week, in Part I of Money Politics and Health Care: A Disease-Creation Economy, I outlined the issues that created this condition in our society.  This week, in Part II, I will review a few strategies that could have the biggest impact on cost and outcomes.

Creating Health: Getting Money Out of Politics

Send letters and e-messages to your elected representatives encouraging them to support the following health initiatives:

Reclaim Food Policy

  • Eliminate unhealthy foods from all schools, child-care and healthcare facilities, and all government institutions. The government must establish rigorous standards for school nutrition consistent with current science (through the USDA). Similarly, we need to create nutrition programs for other public and government-run institutions.
  • Support lobby reform. We must change campaign finance laws so that corporate political donations from entities like big food, big farming, and big pharma can no longer control the political process. Reverse Citizen’s United.
  • Subsidize the production of fruits and vegetables. Change the Farm Bill. Agricultural policies should support public health and encourage the production of fruits and vegetables, not commodity products like corn and soy. 80 percent of government subsidies presently go to soy and corn that are used to create much of the junk food we consume. We need to rethink subsidies and provide more for small farmers and for a broader array of fruits and vegetables.
  • Incentivize supermarkets to open in poor communities. Poverty and obesity go hand in hand. One reason is the food deserts we see around the nation. Poor people have a right to high-quality food, too. We need to create ways to provide it to them.
  • Build the real cost of industrial food into the price. Include its impact on health care costs and lost productivity.
  • Tax sugar. We tax cigarettes and alcohol, which help pay for prevention and treatment programs. Sugar is at least as addictive, if not more. Scientists suggest a penny an ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. This would reduce sugar consumption, obesity, health care costs, and provide revenue to support programs for the prevention and treatment of obesity.
  • Create a public health advertising campaign. Make being healthy cool and sexy supported by celebrities and sports icons to expose the subversive practices of big food, big farming, and big pharma that propagate disease and suffering for millions.  Focus on kids, teenagers, and adults using the best advertising techniques that speak to the emotional needs and feelings of the consumer. Use industry’s best weapons against them like the successful campaign against teen smoking, Rage Against the Haze.

Reclaim Public Airwaves

  • Restrict all media marketing of fast food, junk food, and processed food to children.  Food marketing directed at children should be banned (through the Federal Trade Commission). This has been done in over 50 countries around the globe including Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden. We should follow suit.
  • Regulate marketing of liquid calories, especially to children. Food-industry marketing practices brainwash children to believe that choosing their own products will provide instant happiness and fun.  Do they know something we don’t or are they simply acting on sound evidence that having a 2 year old ask for brand name junk food before he or she can complete a full sentence might not be good for people or for society? One billion cans of Coca-Cola are consumed every day around the world; we have taken the bait.  In communities without health care, education, running water, or enough food, there is Coke!
  • The Food and Drug Administration should restrict unproven health claims on labels.  Foods with health claims on their labels are often the least healthy.  Adding a little fiber to a sugary cereal doesn’t make it healthy. Will Vitamin Water (made by Coca Cola) or Gatorade (made by Pepsi) and made cool by Kobe Bryant and Lebron James make our kids super athletes or just super fat? Is there a reason that over 50 countries ban processed food advertising to children?

Reclaim Our Schools

  • Help reinvent school lunch programs. Starting with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which provides extra money for schools that comply with federal nutrition standards, remove junk food from schools by applying nutrition standards to all foods sold in schools (including vending machines in hallways where most kids get their breakfast of soda and chips) and support access to fresh produce through farm-to-school networks, the creation of school gardens, and the use of local foods.  It doesn’t solve the void in education for self-care and nutrition, but is a beginning.
  • Support schools as safe zones. Create access only to foods that support and create health and optimal brain functioning.
  • Support changes in zoning laws. Prevent fast food and junk food outlets from being next to schools.
  • Build school gardens. Teach children about the origins of food and experience the sensory delight of real, garden fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Support integration of self-care and nutrition curriculum. In schools from K through 12th grades.
  • Bring back basic cooking skills. In schools as part of a curriculum to include essential life tools.

Reclaim Health Care Reform

  • Support real healthcare reform. To not only change insurance regulation, but also to change the type of medicine we do (lifestyle medicine), change how we deliver health care (in small groups in communities and in health care organizations), and pay for quality not quantity of care.  During the health reform process in Washington, D.C., a group of three doctors (Dean Ornish, Michael Roizen, and myself) were asked what organization we represented.  We simply replied that we didn’t represent anyone except the patients or anything but the science.  They accepted it, but looked perplexed.  No wonder.  During health reform, the pharmaceutical industry had three lobbyists for every member of Congress and spent over $600,000 a day to make sure their needs were represented in the legislation.
  • Support the creation of a health corps for America. Train one million community health workers and health champions in communities around the country by 2020. Through the act of “accompaniment” — getting healthy together — we can create a double revolution: change the medicine we do (focus on lifestyle medicine that addresses the causes of chronic illness) and change how we do medicine (in small groups that help people create positive social and behavioral change.) This new workforce of community health workers would “accompany” and support individuals in making better food and lifestyle choices and cleaning up their homes, workplaces, schools, faith-based organizations, and environment.
  • Provide demonstration projects in community health centers. Provide inexpensive, nutritious meals (including take-out), recreational facilities, counseling/education (e.g., cooking classes), and healthcare based on systems/lifestyle/functional medicine at one location.
  • Impose limits on pharmaceutical and unhealthful food advertising. More than $30 billion is spent on marketing junk and fast food to consumers, including $13 billion targeted at children and more than $30 billion is spent by pharma on marketing drugs to physicians (about $30,000 annually per physician). Direct-to-consumer drug advertising also drives prescribing practices based on induced preferences rather than science.
  • Empower the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council.  As an ongoing vehicle for coordination of strategy and policy, focus specifically on developing policies and programs for lifestyle-based chronic disease prevention and management, integrative health care practices, and health promotion.

Reclaim Medical Education

  • Mandate nutrition and lifestyle medicine training in medical schools and residency programs.  Consider this:  All of the major drivers of disease and health care costs are due to lifestyle—and therefore preventable—factors.  If these factors were addressed, we could eliminate 90 percent of heart disease and diabetes, yet only one in four medical schools have a nutrition course, and only 28 percent of schools meet the minimum 25 hours of nutrition education recommended by the Institute of Medicine. And most of those nutrition hours are about nutritional deficiency diseases like scurvy and rickets. If we were successful in reducing heart disease by half or reducing diabetes (along with its complications) by 80 percent, hospitals would go bankrupt, pharma would see their profits plummet, and many physicians would be looking for another line of work.
  • Support and develop a modular scalable nutrition curriculum. Address the lack of supply of adequate experts (scale existing programs such as the Institute for Functional Medicine.)
  • Provide reimbursement for lifestyle treatment of chronic disease.  Despite reviews of the science by major organizations and the support of nearly all the major medical societies who joined in publishing a review of the scientific evidence for lifestyle medicine both for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease,  this approach is still not part of medical training or medical practice.
  • Develop more funding for nutritional science. Congress should mandate greater funding of nutritional science and examine and test innovative treatment models that work.  Guidance for dietary policy should be placed with an independent scientific group such as the Institute of Medicine, instead of the politically and corporately influenced U.S. Department of Agriculture who now tells us what to eat.  They advised a low-fat diet food pyramid with at least 8-11 servings of bread, rice, pasta, and cereal a day in the 1980’s that coincided with the rapid increase in obesity and diabetes. It was lethal to mix politics and health recommendations.
  • End irresponsible relationships between medicine and industry. Public health organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association should avoid partnerships, endorsements, or financial ties with industry that compromise their independence and credibility. Coca-Cola sponsoring events at the American Dietetic Association, or the American Heart Association promoting chocolate sugary cereals as heart-healthy because they have a few grains of whole wheat—is this credible?

It’s worth noting that these strategies span multiple industries, systems, and domains. We are currently experiencing a perfect storm where economic, scientific, and moral imperatives are all colliding and increasingly they are aligning around one very powerful, integrated solution. This provides an opportunity for us as a nation to do well by doing good — through fundamentally changing the way we think about health, money, and politics illuminating the often invisible forces that are putting our health and our nation at risk.

To solve this will require the collective imagination, intention, focus, and action by health care providers, consumers, and industry and policy makers.  It will also require campaign finance reform and reversal of the Citizen’s United decision that puts too much money into politics, money whose first interest is not public welfare but profit.  There is no place for that in our nation’s government.

In the words of the ancient Jewish sage, Rabbi Hillel, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

Go to www.takebackourhealth.org to learn how to take back our health, take money out of politics, and join to see how we can and must get healthy together.  Share your ideas and stories of how we can take back our health.

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below – but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

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37 Responses to Money, Politics, and Health Care: A Disease-Creation Economy – Part II

  1. R Zambrow September 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    I agree with everything you lay out here. BUT, money permeates every aspect of our political system to such an overwhelming extent and corrupts most (if not all) of our elected “leaders”. Right now we really have only one political party, the party of Big Corporate Money. This party now has exactly the government it wants, thoroughly bought and paid for. (And by the way, it pays far, far less money to politicians than it GETS from them) Both Democrat and Republican legislators distract this country’s citizens, most of whom are ignorant about how things actually work in government, with tangential issues — while the majority of us are going down in flames physically, financially, and spiritually.

    I am pessimistic that any of your plans can triumph over Big Corporate Money UNTIL another party, one that will say no to Big Corporate handouts and has the ABILITY to make US citizens aware that it is not beholden to Big Corporate Money interests, emerges. The Green Party is attempting to do this, but right now Big Corporate Money is so entrenched in government agencies’ decision-making to the point where this (or any other) party cannot even get a seat at the debating table. Until the influence of money is blocked from shredding the very fabric of our democracy, I’m afraid that you will not have elected officials that will work for the good of the American people. You need a movement that would be monumental, society-changing and able to reach the American public on a massive scale! An extremely tall order, indeed. If you have any ideas on how to get such a movement going, I would love to know what they are.

  2. ffonz September 13, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    There needs to be community-based websites so communities can have their own
    personal and family and neighborhood and friends and neighbors interaction that
    relates to the communities and environments we personally live in… and gather up
    our strengths at a tangible local-level… the true constitutional republic way of Life..
    Liberty.. (and) Pursuits.. (of) Happiness.. as our fore-fathers envisaged for us all.
       
       
    LIFE.. is all about…………. Health………. Provenance….. Ownership…. Might.. (INNER strength)..
    ‘death’ is all about ……….. sickness…… malevolence….. control………. force.. [‘outer’ ‘strength’]..
       
       
    LIBERTY.. is all about……. Wealth…….. Governance….. Equality……… Mind……. (‘think’ for themselves)
    ‘slavery’ is all about………. want………… government…… inequality…… mindless.. [don’t ‘think’.. submit..]
       
       
    PURSUITS.. is all about…. Prosperity…. Providence…… Fraternity…… Strength….. (they ‘do’ for themselves)..
    ‘indolence’ is all about…… poverty…….. prodigence….. enmity……….. weakness.. [gvnt to do it all for them]..
       
       
    HAPPINESS.. is all about.. Wisdom……. Vigilance………. Unity/Peace… Vision……. (the people flourish)..
    ‘misery’ is all about……….. foolishness.. negligence……. anarchy/war.. no-vision.. [the people perish]..
       
       
    Way more to it than that.. but the above is a good starting point for anyone who wants
    to go beyond just the platitudes stage of mouthing only and wants to ‘get to the doing’.

    Enjoy Life….

    ffonz.. B)
    ====================================================================
    []

  3. Andy September 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Thank you for providing this excellent list of changes we need to implement. I hope that other people in leadership positions will get on your bandwagon. In the mean time, I am going to takebackyourhealth.org and see what I can do.

  4. Danae Fentie September 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Hello Dr. Hyman,

    Thank you so much for this article. It is revolutionary having all of this information summed up in one brilliant article. I am currently enrolled at IIN and I have been racking my brain on HOW and WHAT I could be doing to make more of a global impact. The more I study the more I see the IMMEDIATE, DIRE need to drastically make changes. I now have tangible ways in which I can be of service and help implement massive changes. Thank you for your service to others and I look forward to continuing to follow your blogs and vision of our future.

    Yours in health,

    Danae

  5. JR September 16, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Well said Dr H. we need to take back the power we have always owned instead of giving our power to the special interest groups .I will go to takebackourhealth .org.

  6. Raptor September 16, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    You’re right, but good luck getting all these changes implemented. I thought that my example of easily shedding 40 pounds in a few months on the Esselstyn diet last year (plus feeling and looking better than I have in many years) would at least tempt a few of my closest friends to TRY the diet and see how it worked for them. TWO were at least willing to watch “Forks over Knives” but returned the video to me with the comment, “Oh, I could NEVER eat a diet that boring!” Every friend seems to be sitting around, just waiting for me to fall back into eating cheeseburgers because they see it as impossible for humans to enjoy a whole-foods, plant-based way of life.

    Further, our capitalistic culture is making a ton of money on people’s addictions to soda, fast food, and meals that require minimal effort on their part to procure–witness the 10 cars I saw in a MacDonald’s drive-thru line last week when my 67-year body got out of the car, walked in and left with only an unsweetened iced tea. Even when they are diagnosed with type II diabetes, heart disease or similar ailments, they continue to eat foods that are totally bad for them.

    • Stella September 16, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      On the other side of the spectrum, I have bought 3 copies of blood sugar solution and passed them out to some of my closest friends and family members as gifts. As a result, my sister, mother, and 2 of my closest friends are on this diet. My best friend is in her 80s. As a result of reading the book and making dietary and lifestyle changes she has lost 13 lbs so far, her blood pressure has dropped, due to senior swimming class her strength is coming back and she is needing to use her cane and walker less and less. Her skin tone and elasticity has improved and her cardiologist is tickled pink about her lifestyle changes. I have lost 20 pounds, and have experienced a gamut of improvements to my health and functioning. I have a ways to go but the pounds and inches keep coming off. My other friend (in her 30s) has experience similar changes. In my experience, dietary change thru social networks can and does happen. It is a process – my sister initially was resistant to the idea. She flatly stated that she was unwilling to give up sugar, white flour and caffeine. I felt disappointed, but I gave her the book as a gift anyway, told her I loved her, and invited her to read it. Recently, she announced that she was starting the blood sugar solution program. Sometimes people need time.

    • Marianne September 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

      Great job, Raptor! Keep doing what you are doing and soon your friends will follow! You are the best advertisment for healthy living! AND, congratulations to you for changing your diet. Feeling and looking great are the best rewards!

  7. Jill E. September 16, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Yes, we can do this IF WE all UNITE !!!

  8. Marilyn September 16, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    One more thing that is critical that should be included, EVEN IF there is no additional medical school training in nutrition that is currently only 25 hours that you referred to, which is just pathetic, is for a mandate for doctors to give their patients an information sheet educating what nutrients to replenish there bodies with from what the drugs depleted – from the drug itself or from long term use of the drug(s). This should be something done NOW since people are not getting enough nutrients from food as it is, since most people eat processed food. With a drug-taking lifestyle, people/patients should at least be informed with what they need to replenish their bodies NOW.

    • Marianne September 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      Great idea! Doctors should do what you suggest. In the meantime, I discovered a fabulous book called Drug Muggers by Suzy Cohen, a pharmacist, that outlines all of the nutrients that are depleted when someone is on pharmaceutical drugs. It is a MUST HAVE for anyone on meds!

  9. Chris September 16, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    All wonderful targets, but looking at what happened to Obama’s attempts to reform health care in the US, in a political system that allowed pasta to be classified as a vegetable for school lunches, scarcely gives one much hope. The world will have to change radically before any of these fine proposals is likely to be implemented on a large scale.

    I think your own attempts to change some people’s thinking, and Raptor’s so far unsuccessful and my own similar attempts, which have had some very small successes, point the way to a possibly different future–one small step at a time. Think and act locally–California, not the US, may point the way to a protection of our right to know whether the food we eat is GM or not. Cities can pass bylaws restricting some products–New York has made a small beginning.

  10. Mike September 16, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Your strategies end up putting politicians in charge of basically everything health care and food related. That’s a bad recipe, pardon the pun. Politicians and bureaucrats are no more inherently selfless and than leaders of industry or business. Their self interest lies in their power and their jobs, NOT with the public welfare. Concern for the public welfare will only come from the heart of free individuals. I’m sure the people who decided to heavily subsidize (and change the production of) wheat, corn and soy had good intentions, but I can hardly imagine how much they’d screw up fruits and vegetables too. If grains are basicially poison for our bodies now, what we will eat when they destroy fruits and veggies? What then?

  11. Claire Terry September 16, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    You have some great ideas and very specific solutions. I think it would help greatly if we could get the majority of the medical professionals behind this idea. Our culture regarding food/eating seems to be changing slowly among the better educated, but we need to do a better job of getting the word out. I will say, from experience, it is much easier to speak healthy than eat healthy.

  12. Jean September 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    The magnitude of this discussion can make a single person feel powerless, and possibly cynical. But….a sea change is possible because true change begins in the hearts of individuals. Remember the old 1960’s saying? “The personal is political.” Our daily nutrition choices directly impact our health and politics. As an aging boomer, I find this to be a significant way I can impact the system and beat the odds. I can make an impact in word and by example on my circle of influence–family, friends, and work to expand awareness of the nutrition, and exercise connection to health care costs. Although not yet retired, I hope to maximize my retirement savings by proactively not needing to use our health care system. My dad, a high school educated, truck driver by trade, used to say, “Better to put food on the table than buy medicine.” He was wise.

    We should never underestimate our circles of influence. Perhaps one voice on one person will not make a change right away. You may be the first time a person hears a nutritional truth, but other subsequent voices may create the turning point. Thank you Dr. Hyman for framing an alternative vision for functional nutrition. This discussion provides us with talking points to make the personal political argument. For change to happen, an alternative vision is essential in order to move from one practice to another.

    Lately I have been thinking about what I would like to do in retirement. Providing advice, and facilitating choice to create transformation has always been integral to what I do. I am envisioning an enormous cadre of aging boomers creating circles of personal influence to beat the existing system and eventually change it. Where the term health care does not only connote doctors, hospitals, insurance and prescriptions, but the personal choices one makes in achieving health. This would be another way to leave a lasting legacy.

  13. Peter Donovan September 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Dr. Hyman, your two blogs on ‘A Disease-Creation Economy’ resulting from todays politics and healthcare practices is the best explanation i have seen on the issues and solutions. You mentioned that yourself, Dean Ornish and Michael Roizen were consulted as part of the health reform process in Washington but when asked which group you represented by the politicians you had to say that you did not represent anyone (rather just looking out for the good of all patients and what science is telling us). To politicians this is code for ‘i can ignore this’ or ‘these guys can’t help me get reelected’. I would suggest that to enable us to have a fair fight here and for many of your solutions to gain traction we need to become a ‘represented group’ to match that of Pharma, Meat and Dairy et al for lobbying power and the ear of our representatives. How could we do this? what groups or organization could be brought together and if not you and/or your two colleagues who might be some of the people that could lead such a lobbying effort? You have my vote to represent me. Thank you for all you are doing and the honest and brave positions you are taking against the pressures of your own industry to enlighten us patients and voters.

  14. Peggy September 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    you are like Moses parting the Red Sea – well done! you are absolutely right about the perfect storm and that is why most people don’t get the message – the govt and big agriculture and big pharma are working in perfect harmony.

  15. Ben Champion September 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    I’m 100% for you, Dr. H., but I think it’s just a beginning. Getting money out of politics and getting the financial influence of Big Food and Big Pharma out of medical schools, doctor’s offices, and our education systems is a great start. But what about homelessness, unemployment, and corporations’ endless obsession with profits to the extent of destroying peoples’ lives? No, I’m afraid that, in time, we’ll either have to eliminate money altogether or totally succumb to its rule. It has become our god and we as a species are becoming more and more callous toward each other in the name of wealth accumulation. I realize mine is not a popular stance but People Matter More Than Money. GetRidOfMoney.ORG

  16. SharonW September 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    One thing that I must say about the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act in the school lunch arena – the new meal patterns are very interesting, very demanding. However, to implement them schools have to take away many of the healthy choices that they already had in place. The limitations on serving bread (even whole grain) and the calorie restrictions are hard to meet and still serve food that the children will actually eat – especially in high schools and even middle schools where the students value choice and independence above all else. With this kind of response, the students will simply choose not to eat the school lunch and it will all be a waste no matter how healthy it is.

    Additionally, the law provides for an additional 6 cents per meal; the schools must meet the standards, but they must also jump through hoops to be approved for the additional 6 cents. 6 cents won’t buy healthier foods, y’all. It is a drop in the bucket to the costs. Consider: one reason many schools had gone to serving processed foods is simply that it cut back on the labor time to cook fresh, healthy foods from scratch. So not only does the food cost more – much more – but then there is the labor cost to prepare the foods. There is simply no way the school lunch program can handle this extra cost. Most school nutrition operations must also be self-supporting – meaning that they are not supposed to make a profit, but that the school district is not supposed to have to kick in money to keep it running either. There isn’t that much help from the federal government. It is another unfunded mandate. When the school nutrition program flounders, then what? Will this good intentioned law mean the end of the school lunch program instead? Will students just opt out, bring a lunch from home, go to the nearest fast food place for lunch, or just go without?

    These are great ideas, but they have to be paid for somehow.

    • Ben Champion September 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      “These are great ideas, but they have to be paid for somehow.” You’re absolutely right, Sharon. Yet another example of how money stands in the way of a good idea becoming a reality. What if we could somehow eliminate the stumbling block? GetRidOfMoney.ORG

  17. Belle September 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Great suggestions, but I am afraid it is an impossible dream. There is too much money and power on the other side. Big Government, Big Pharma and Big Agra just aren’t interested.

  18. Jo September 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Also, require labelling of GMOs. Educate people about them.

  19. Candy September 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    I don’t like the influence of Big Pharma on the FDA, etc either. But why not eliminate ALL subsidies and start over. A lot of those subsidies originated in a lot different time. No pet projects for anyone. It’s easy to say cut off corporations from making a profit but I bet a lot of you have retirement accounts that are vested in those companies making a profit. You will be shooting your own foot off. Why not help educate both the population and the corporations to find a way to continue making money (its not always evil) providing healthier alternatives? Let’s stop ALL lobbying. Not likely to happen but again….no pet projects for anyone. And regarding campaign finance, please throw in unions into the pot. If you look at campaign finance(online) you will find that most corporation hedge their bets and give to both parties. No favorites (contrary to belief) but unions only give to Democrats. Look it up. I am all in favor of leveling the playing field. But for all those projects that you want to fund, you better come up with a way to fund them other than keep asking the same folks to always pick up the tab. Perhaps some current government funding needs to be eliminated or reduced to help come up with the money for all the projects listed above. I do like seeing dr educated in things other than pushing pills.

  20. edgar coxeter September 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    What wise words great prophet !

    We need a weekly periodical advertising your ideas delivered to every congressman and senator.

    And more emphasis in a number of sources on people contacting their representatives.

    Thanks be to you Mark !

    Edgar

  21. Marianne September 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    I would like to tell you all about a program developed by Antonia Demas, Ph.D., a student of Dr. T. Colin Campbell from Cornell University, called Food is Elementary. Dr. Demas developed programs that taught nutrition in the public schools in cities like Baltimore, Maryland. Her programs are very successful on all levels. Children from very poor neighborhoods learned all about fruits and vegetables and learned to love to cook and eat healthy foods. I highly recommend that you all check into her work if you are interested in changing the diet of school children in this country.

  22. Jan September 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Dr Hyman does a great job and it’s always wonderful to find a physician who is reviewing and testing ideas, both new and old.

    But, do you really think the Institute of Medicine is an independent agency? It’s as corrupt as any and NIH research is often designed to support Big Pharma and discredit natural medicine.

  23. Jody September 17, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Great ideas! What do you think about restricting food stamp dollars to only pay for healthy foods? It frustrates me to see someone use food stamps to buy junk food like soda, candy, sugared cereal and chips at the grocery store. Especially when the person is 100 lbs overweight! However, are we removing a personal freedom by making a change like this? We’ve done it with alcohol and cigarettes, can we do this with junk food? My tax dollars are enabling the problem: I pay for your junk food which makes you sick and fat. Then I pay for your healthcare that doesn’t address the cause of the problem. Furthermore, I can’t get paid to help people in this predicament because health and lifestyle coaching is not covered by these government paid plans.
    Yes, it’s time for a change!
    Jody

    • Cathie September 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      Well stated, Jody!!

  24. Kim September 17, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    How would you prioritize these? I love all the ideas but its a bit like eating the elephant in one bite. What do you think can be done most expeditiously and what would have the biggest impact?

  25. Charles Krieger September 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    I am aware that I am speaking from a biased viewpoint but at the same time that viewpoint has more than a century of data to back it up. Until there is a sustained and enforced effort to incorporate chiropractic care as a major modality for health care most of what is discussed above will come to naught.
    Antibiotic toxicity is rampant in our society, especially in our pediatric population. We have documentation showing that chiropractic adjustments will alleviate otitis media more quickly and effectively without the toxic effects of antibiotics or the dangers and expense of tympanostomies.
    None other than Web MD has documentation showing that chiropractic adjustments lower blood pressure. Maybe it’s just me but I seem to hear a bit about high blood pressure being a health concern in an aging population.
    Chiropractic adjustments stimulate the production of T-cells – in a population that is seeing ever stronger antigens causing more and more stubborn illnesses having our populace receive regular chiropractic adjustments would seem to be a mandatory health care action.

    In order to truly achieve a healthy populace, especially a healthy pediatric populace, chiropractic adjustments are a requirement. Denying this with the mountains of evidence we have is a product of prejudice or ignorance or both.

  26. Paul September 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    First and foremost we have to teach that the best healer is oneself, a doctor/physician can only help create an environment that supports the body’s natural healing process. Getting well is up to us individually – no one can do it for us. I am not “religious” but anyone who is will have heard the religious texts proclaim ‘have faith and your faith will make you whole’.
    Teach how to listen to, and observe, your body and keep a constant awareness of what is going on. Fund healthy activity and reward those who live a good lifestyle by withdrawing funding for big pharma drugs if there has been no attempt by the patient to seek and be actively involved in exercise or allied practices such as yoga/qigong etc.

  27. Cathie September 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    First let me say that I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Hyman. That being said, you know that quote, I have met the enemy, and the enemy is us… I’m a nurse, and in just six years I’ve seen the percentage of my assigned patients with diabetes go up from a max of 60% to 100%. on some nights. Once in a great while, we will see someone at 400 lbs but over 200 lbs at 4’11-5’10 range is common. And more and more, people over 300# are just starting to show up. I work an ortho/med-surg floor. The vast majority of my obese and/or diabetic patients have no interest in change. The people I see, and I get a great cross section of the general population, have no desire to change. If the choice is a major lifestyle change or take a pill, take a pill wins hands down. This greatly concerns me as with such a small percentage of the population interested in good health, and the vast majority content with constant MD visits and loads of medicine just so long as they have enough health to watch TV, I don’t see how to beat the powerful special interest groups. This frustrates me as I want to see more organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables and zero genetically modified foods. But my few dollars cannot support farmers. There needs to be many more and I’m not sure how to convince people that change is not only possible but desirable. All that being said, I will close with the best and simplest nutrition advice I’ve ever heard and I heard on a radio interview a few days ago. ” If it comes in a box or a bag, don’t eat it.” Love that!

  28. retractable banner stand September 18, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    I’ll right away take hold of your rss feed as I can not find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me realize in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

    • Profile photo of HymanStaff
      HymanStaff September 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

      Please look at the upper right-hand corner for our newsletter subscription drop-down http://drhyman.com/.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

      Dr. Hyman Staff

  29. Eva Putnam September 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    RE: Support integration of self-care and nutrition curriculum. In schools from K through 12th grades
    (from the article above)

    Well, if my kids to be taught to eat grains, NO THANKS!!!!
    Cows are fed grains to get fat and they do so is a human being ingesting all the grain “goodness” with gluten, phythic acid and carbs causing more need for insulin…

    Below is the link to the official 2005 FDA food pyramid that recommends to
    – eat grains in about 25% of total food intake. NO THANK YOU!
    – eat fruit in about 20%… Per experts (Dr.Robert Lustig), fructose is addictive and works on our brain like cocaine and should be limited to 25 grams a day for healthy individuals and for those with any health problems to 15 grams/day.

    http://www.everydiet.org/diet/food-pyramid

    “Grains group
    This food group includes any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain. Some examples of grain products are bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits. Grains fall into 2 subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole (rather than refined) grains and grain products are better for you as they contain more fiber and more micro nutrients like folic acid, magnesium, and vitamins. Refined grains have been milled, thereby removing the bran and germ. This improves shelf life and gives a finer texture, but also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Consequently, refined grains may be ‘enriched’ by adding back iron and certain B vitamins. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole grain foods per day.

    Grains tip: make half your grains whole.”—-end of quote

    I guess, if FDA would declare sugar and grains NOT for human consumption, the whole economy would collapse.
    Thank you
    Eva Putnam

  30. Carrie September 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    Amen and Amen to ALL you’ve said Dr. Hyman. How do we get this message out to the powers that be from us the people?

  31. Zack Davis September 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Hello all,

    Great site and comments. I wanted everyone to read this article from this morning’s LA Times. As if we don’t already have enough damage to reverse, now Anthem is offering discount coupons for toxic food.

    This is absolutely appalling, and something has to be done about it:

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20120920,0,2539604.column

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