In 1980, 45% of American adults were overweight, 15% were obese, and 9% of GDP was spent on healthcare. Today, over 70% of adults are overweight, 35% are obese, and we spend 18% of GDP on healthcare. Obesity is a contributing factor to 7 of the top 10 causes of death in America today. There’s also an emotional cost; people ashamed of their bodies; parents listening to their kids cry after being teased.
What’s causing this obesity epidemic?
A food system designed to promote the consumption of unhealthy foods and a healthcare system that benefits more from treating diseases than from preventing them.
Today’s food would be unrecognizable to our ancestors. Rather than nutritious, whole foods, most Americans eat a heavily processed diet marketed to them by massive food corporations. These corporations have spent thousands of hours in labs testing and developing the most addictive foods in the history of the world. Their success has been a catastrophe for our health. Our culture is now addicted to food-like substances filled with sugar, salt, and fat.
During this change in the food system, there have also been significant shifts in the home. Today, families spend half the amount of time in the kitchen versus 50 years ago. This is partially due to the rise of two-income families, and the rise of single-parent families.
These social changes, and the changes in the food system, affect all of us. But while it’s hard for families living in affluent communities in Los Angeles like Pacific Palisades (per capita income: $95,000) to eat healthy, it’s nearly impossible in low-income communities like South Los Angeles (per capita income: $13,000). With limited food budgets, limited access to healthy foods, less nutrition knowledge, and less spare time, poor families disproportionately suffer from diet-related health issues. In Pacific Palisades childhood obesity is 11% and the life expectancy is 85. In South Los Angeles, childhood obesity is 30% and the life expectancy is 75.
These statistics need to change. The ability to eat healthy foods and maintain a healthy weight shouldn’t be luxury items for the upper classes, but rather human rights shared by all. We’re committed to turning this belief into a reality.