Take these fruits and vegetables and call me in the morning

Many medical programs are now actively linking food to its critical role in everyday health. Doctor Deborah Frank, director of the Grow Clinic for Children at Boston Medical Center, rattles off a list of nutrition-sensitive disorders, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, under- and overweight problems, thin bones, and more. “Being undernourished is bad for your health at any age,” she says.

The statistics are grim: More than one-third of adults and 17 percent of youth are obese. About 29 million people, or 9.3 percent of the US population, have diabetes, and 37 percent of adults have prediabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, the total estimated cost of the disease was a staggering $245 billion as of 2012, which includes health care services, medications, and lost productivity. Obesity-related direct and indirect costs are estimated at more than $250 billion. Approximately 70 million adults (29 percent of the population) have high blood pressure, a cost to the nation of about $46 billion per year.

“We’re willing to spend money for medicine, but we need to give people the wherewithal to access and purchase healthful foods,” says Frank. “Good food is like a miracle drug.” Yet too many people are priced out of a healthy diet, she says.


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