Failing public health is killing Americans, unequally

Asia's Tech News Daily

Geography tells us important stories. The states that have suffered the most cases of COVID-19 (mostly in the Southeast and Southwest) also have the highest rates of food insecurity, meaning that people can’t always afford sufficient food, according to data recently released by USDA. These same states also have the highest rates of obesity.

© Getty Images Failing public health is killing Americans, unequally

Why?

It’s not an issue of climate or soil or mere coincidence.

It’s about failed public policies.

The top reasons for disproportionate COVID-19 cases in these regions are pretty obvious: resistance to mask mandates, low rates of vaccination and little promotion of social distancing throughout the pandemic.

Geography tells us important stories. When we look at these three maps, we see a sad tale of failed public health. pic.twitter.com/aJaR84X7Zu

– Joel Berg (@Joelsberg) October 15, 2021

Their reasons for high levels of hunger and diet-related chronic diseases should be equally obvious: public policies that ensure low wages, high taxes on food, inadequate government safety nets and widespread food desserts (where healthier food is scarce). These states also have the country’s highest rates of poverty. And – while systemic racism is still a serious problem in every state – it’s likely no coincidence that the three maps also overlap heavily with many states in the former southern Confederacy, where racial disparities in all these maladies remain particularly pronounced.

These drivers of poor health are deeply interconnected, and each makes the other worse. Humans who are malnourished are more likely to have compromised immune systems and poor metabolic health, making them more likely to contract and transmit diseases such as COVID-19. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations may be related to common diet-related conditions. In communities with more COVID-19 cases, businesses (where workers earn money to purchase food), schools, senior centers and food charities (where people obtain free meals) have been more likely to be closed. The nutrition insecurity crisis fuels the pandemic, and vice versa.

Take Mississippi, for example. Per 100,000 people, Mississippi ranks in the top 10 states for COVID-19 cases endured since the onset of the pandemic. It also has the nation’s single highest rates of food insecurity, poverty, obesity, and (just behind West Virginia) diabetes. It is a grim irony that Mississippi also has the steepest sales tax on groceries, 7 percent.

While obesity rates are high among Americans of all incomes due to complex physiological, emotional, genetic and cultural causes, people suffering from nutrition insecurity and poverty have even higher rates. Since healthier food is often more expensive, more time consuming to prepare and harder to find in low-income communities than junk food, hunger and obesity are flip sides of the same malnutrition coin. When low-income humans are forced to skip meals, they are more likely to overeat when they do eat again.

Obesity – as well as other diet-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease – also make it more likely for people who get COVID-19 to die from it. Even before the pandemic, diet-related diseases were the top reason why this generation is the first in U.S. history to die earlier of natural causes than their parents.

While these problems are most pronounced in certain regions, nutrition insecurity, poverty and diet-caused diseases are a serious problem in every state – significantly harming wide swaths of suburban, rural and urban America across every racial, ethnic, education, political and income subgroup.

Almost half the entire adult population – more than 100 million adults – have pre-diabetes or diabetes. Fully 122 million Americans have cardiovascular disease, resulting in roughly 840,000 deaths each year.

Not only are the human costs devastating, but so too are the economic losses. The total cost to the U.S. of obesity is estimated at $1.72 trillion per year, or 9.3 percent of gross domestic product. As a nation, we spend about $1.1 trillion on direct costs for food – and another $2.1 trillion on additional, external costs of food from poor health, wasted natural resources and lost livelihoods. In other words, for every $1 we spend on food, our nation and economy lose an additional $2.

House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and many other public and private food leaders are right to be calling on the White House to convene a 2022 Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger and Health to draw together all key stakeholders (including federal, state and local officials and the food industry) to comprehensively address these grave threats.

But states, cities, counties and the private sector should also take concrete, meaningful actions now on all these fronts. They should immediately increase vaccination campaigns and encourage mask-wearing and social distancing in indoor public spaces.

They should ensure that all jobs pay a living wage so that families can afford to buy the healthiest food – and when wages aren’t enough to do so, they need to help as many eligible families as possible obtain healthy foods through federally-funded nutrition programs such as SNAP, WIC and school meals.

States and cities should also incentivize farmers markets and grocery stores to deliver to food deserts, build healthier foods into their administration of Medicaid, and promote community gardens, urban farms and food entrepreneurship.

The intertwined challenges of COVID-19, hunger, and obesity graphically demonstrate our national geography of failed public health. Smart public policies can move American states and communities from the bottom to the top of key national rankings. Geography doesn’t need to equal destiny.

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian is a cardiologist and dean of the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Follow him on Twitter: @Dmozaffarian

Joel Berg is CEO of Hunger Free America, a national direct service and advocacy nonprofit group. Follow him on Twitter: @Joelsberg

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Bigg Boss 15: Karan Kundrra in SHOCK as Tejasswi Prakash reveals 'jiju' Ritesh made her feel 'uncomfortable'; calls Abhijeet Bhichukale 'homophobic'

© Provided by BollywoodLife.com The wild card contestants have brought about a havoc in Bigg Boss 15 house. All the contestants are shaken up and we are witnessing a lot ... Read more »

Sara Ali Khan chides a security guard for apparently manhandling a camera-person

© Provided by Mid-Day Sara Ali Khan won netizens over by chiding a security guard for apparently manhandling a camera-person at an event. The paparazzi, however, later clarified that it ... Read more »

Is Salman Khan and family invited for Katrina Kaif wedding. Arpita Khan answers

Will Salman Khan attend Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif’s wedding in Jaipur? Bollywood actors Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif are getting married in a few days and the buzz around ... Read more »

Disha Patani shakes booty with her girl gang on Nicki Minaj's 'High School': Video

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: Actress Disha Patani never fails to impress her fans with her engaging social media posts. She often shares her impressive workout videos, hot ... Read more »

Verhulst confirms move to TSM's Apex roster

© Provided by Dot Esports In an announcement on Wednesday evening that confirmed longstanding rumors, Esports Arena Apex Legends player Evan “Verhulst” Verhulst officially announced that he would be joining ... Read more »

Facebook whistle-blower and others tell Congress to do more

© Al Drago Frances Haugen used her time to urge leaders to hold Facebook accountable for the division and harm the social media site has brought upon the world. Bloomberg ... Read more »

South Korea's daily Covid cases exceed 5,000 for first time

Virus Outbreak South Korea (ASSOCIATED PRESS) South Korea’s daily jump in coronavirus infections exceeded 5,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, as a delta-driven surge also ... Read more »

Hank Willis Thomas: ‘The slave era is not something that is in the past'

“We the People.” “Liberty.” “Justice.” Words spelled out in quilted Daedalus-like mazes, in the new exhibition Another Justice: Divided We Stand, at the Kayne Griffin gallery in Los Angeles. All ... Read more »

Senator Ted Cruz blocks Biden's State Department nominees

Senator Ted Cruz is one of the Republican senators slowing the confirmation of President Biden‘s State Department nominees. He says he is objecting because Mr. Biden is not sanctioning Moscow ... Read more »

Cause of Nuezca's death likely heart attack —BuCor spox

Police Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca The body of dismissed Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca, who murdered two neighbors in Tarlac in December 2020, will undergo autopsy on Thursday to ... Read more »

Macron Reportedly Called Boris Johnson A 'Clown' And 'Knucklehead'

Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow. (Photo: Alastair Grant via PA Wire/PA Images) French president Emmanuel Macron has branded Boris Johnson a “clown”, reports have ... Read more »

CNN 10 - December 2, 2021

December 2, 2021 As experts debate whether a new coronavirus variant will affect the U.S. economy, we’re examining the impact of inflation on American farmers. That report is followed by ... Read more »

Investigator in Wisconsin 2020 election review tried to overturn Biden win

The man leading a review of the 2020 election on behalf of Wisconsin Assembly Republicans, Michael Gableman, says he’s not trying to overturn the election results, but he revealed Wednesday ... Read more »

Pope Francis heads to migrant frontline Cyprus

Pope Francis arrives on the divided island of Cyprus Thursday as part of a landmark trip to push two of his priorities: the plight of migrants and inter-confessional dialogue. © ... Read more »

Vier Tote an US-Schule: Schütze (15) hat Video über Mordpläne aufgenommen

Der mutmassliche Todesschütze an der High School in Oxford im US-Bundesstaat Michigan hat nach Angaben der Polizei am Vorabend der Tat ein Video über seine Mordpläne aufgenommen. © Bereitgestellt von ... Read more »

Tatum (26 pts, 16 reb) leads Celtics past 76ers, 88-87

BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 26 points with a career-high 16 rebounds on Wednesday night, shaking off a hard fourth-quarter fall to lead to lead the Boston Celtics to ... Read more »

The US may impose tougher testing and quarantine requirements for travellers

© Provided by Lifestyle Asia The United States will soon require international travellers entering the country to take a COVID-19 test one day prior to departure, regardless of vaccination status, ... Read more »

'I'm creating history for Southeast Asia': Sneaker customiser Mr Sabotage

SINGAPORE – The founder of SBTG, Mark Ong, better known as Mr Sabotage, is a legend in the streetwear scene, primarily known for his customised sneakers. In his own words ... Read more »

Singtel to air BBC shows

© Provided by Singapore Business Review Singtel announced that five BBC channels will be made available on their products starting today. Singtel TV, Singtel TV GO, and CAST will have ... Read more »

Delhi, Haryana, UP, and Rajasthan likely to get showers today

Light intensity rain is expected to occur over parts of Delhi; Farukhnagar in Haryana; Debai, Narora, Sahaswan, Atrauli, Aligarh in UP and Bharatpur and Mahandipur Balaji in Rajasthan over the ... Read more »

CM Mamata in Soup for 'Insulting National Anthem' During Mumbai Visit; BJP Leader Files Complaint

© Provided by News18 CM Mamata in Soup for ‘Insulting National Anthem’ During Mumbai Visit; BJP Leader Files Complaint A BJP leader in Mumbai has filed a complaint against West ... Read more »

Horoscope Today, December 2, Thursday: Leo Will Face Their Fears, Pisces Will Find it Difficult to Control Their Emotions

© Anjali Thakur | Pandit Jagannath Guruji Horoscope Today (Picture credit: Freepik) Horoscope Today, December 2, Thursday: Know what’s going to work in your favour, astrological predictions by astrologer and ... Read more »

Delhi girl's scooty number plate has SEX and that makes it difficult for her

© Provided by Zee News People sometimes spend exorbitant amount of money to get their favourite vehicle number plates. For example, 001 or 007 or even 1234, are among people’s ... Read more »

Trump tested Covid positive days before 1st presidential debate, reveals book

© Provided by Hindustan Times Former US President Donald Trump. (Reuters file photo) Former US President Donald Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus disease, days before his maiden presidential ... Read more »

How to clear Floor 11 of the Spiral Abyss in Genshin Impact Version 2.3

© Provided by GamePur A new reset of the Spiral Abyss is in place. While Floors 9 and 10 are the same as the last version, Floors 11 and 12 have different ... Read more »

Deepika Padukone lauds Mini Mathur for her support after she praises Ranveer Singh's 83 trailer

Ever since the trailer of 83 has dropped, fans have been showering love on it. Everyone has loved the trailer so much that praises have not stopped coming in and ... Read more »

Boman Irani turns 62 today: A look at theatre and film actor's finest performances

© Provided by Firstpost Boman Irani turns 62 today: A look at theatre and film actor’s finest performances Indian theatre and film actor Boman Irani was born on 2 December ... Read more »

Is COVID-19 variant Omicron deadlier than Delta strain? Experts make BIG claim

© Provided by DNA As India prepares itself to tackle the new COVID-19 mutation, Omicron, an assessment by doctors suggests that though the transmission rate of the virus may be ... Read more »

India vs New Zealand, 2nd Test: Grass shaved off at Wankhede

© Provided by The Times of India MUMBAI: The “thick layer of grass” on the Wankhede pitch for the second Test between India and New Zealand has been shaved off ... Read more »

Woman, daughter beaten by group in Delhi's Shalimar Bagh, two held

A 38-year-old woman and her daughter were attacked by a group of four people, including two women, in northwest Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh area, the police said. The incident, which took ... Read more »

Birthday Gift ideas For Best Friend

A person can have a lot of friends, but he or she cannot have a lot of best friends. Therefore, it is said that best friends are special, and that ... Read more »

Giants keeping Matt Peart buried on the bench

It is the question so many are asking, because on the surface, it does not seem to make much sense. Why is Matt Peart, 24, buried on the bench and ... Read more »

Igor Shesterkin propels surging Rangers past Flyers

No one would’ve guessed that the Rangers hadn’t seen game action in five days. For they were sharp and opportunistic against a downward spiraling Flyers team, who dropped their seventh ... Read more »

Gov't extends 3-day national vax drive until Dec. 3

© Leo Udtohan COVID-19 vaccine program held inside the Island City Mall in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, one of the three vaccination sites for the three-day National Vaccination Days. Photo: Leo ... Read more »

Best Cheap Motorcycle Insurance: West Virginia (2021)

© RideApart.com best cheap motorcycle insurance west virginia West Virginia motorcycle insurance is required but inexpensive. Advertiser Disclosure Insurance rates are lower than average in the Mountain State, but that ... Read more »

Australia's Woolworths makes $613 million drugstore play, taking on Wesfarmers

© Reuters/Jason Reed FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk into a Woolworths supermarket in Sydney By Byron Kaye and Sameer Manekar SYDNEY/BENGALURU (Reuters) -Top Australian grocer Woolworths Group made a $613 million ... Read more »

Abbotsford, B.C. sets all-time November rainfall record with 540 mm

The City of Abbotsford, B.C., set an all-time weather record this November as three atmospheric rivers pummeled the province. © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward Debris from receding flood waters is ... Read more »

Arizonans sound off following U.S. Supreme Court arguments over the Mississippi abortion case

A United States Supreme Court hearing involving the right to an abortion brought out hundreds of pro-life and pro-choice protesters, and in Arizona, there is no shortage of opinions over ... Read more »

'I'm a bit worried' - Thomas Tuchel provides injury update on Trevoh Chalobah

© Provided by Metro Chalobah was forced off in the second-half (Picture: Getty) Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says he is a ‘bit worried’ about Trevoh Chalobah after the defender was ... Read more »

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, what will that mean for North Carolina?

The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in an abortion case that could have national ramifications — including here in North Carolina — when the ruling comes out, likely sometime next ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic