How Can the Obesity Problem In America Be Solved?

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A lot of folks throw their hands up in the air, and they say, we've got a system designed for what we have in America right now, an obese population. We've got folks who have very effectively marketed products that might not be good for our health. We've got US government is subsidizing agricultural production of products that we don't have to have in higher quantities.

For that reason, we actually have to pay more for healthy products like a bottle of water in a school than for the chocolate milk in the school, which is free by the way. Or it's much easier for you to get $1 especially at fast food restaurant than it is to buy a piece of fruit. So I understand those pin points, but I don't look to Washington to fix that issue.

I've tried, I've lobbied, negotiated, testified, they can't even bounce the budget in Washington, so I'm not looking for solutions coming out of our nation's capital, but I'm happy and optimistic, because I know that we actually control our health destiny. Because we vote with our pocket [xx] three times a day at least.

We have an incredible amount of power but only if we do it together. If I'm the only who put my hand up making it stink about this, I will get shot but if we all do it, we can't all get shot at once ,and that's how movements get started, that's how we begin to create a conversation which is what my show is about more than anything else, is getting people to sit up in their chair and say, what a minute, I got to take notice of what's happening here, that I didn't realize it, are you kidding me, is that right? And all of a sudden you shake people up enough that they want to challenge their basic assumptions about what's happening in the world around them, which is what doctors historically have always done. I have always been a bit embarrassed that physicians have retracted a little bit from the civic discussion.

More than 10% of the folks who signed the Declaration For Independence were doctors. They were curious people. About 5% of the people who served at federal government the first 100 year of our nation were doctors. They were curious people, but for the last 100, there are less than a half percent of doctors are people in elected offices have been positions as a high level.

What happened to us? And I think as a physician I have a civic responsibility as we all do, because we are professional to speak, but what does a professional do? You have a body of knowledge you always protect because you are curious about it, you always take care of your client or patient, in my case is number one, you police each other, we don't do that so well but we are supposed to, and we have a civic responsibility to speak up and talk to people people what going on, especially when the ship of society is tittering in troubled waters, offshore.

And so I think we have an opportunity and responsibility to go out there and change the world, but we are at the change in ourselves as well, and I think folks recognize that they're not going to win this battle in someone else's playground, they are going to win it by making decisions today, by becoming activists. And we are seeing that more and more as people begin to pull together and just say, OK, we're going to change the quality of that food, we're going to open a farmer's market, we're going to take care of this food desert, we're going to insist that you are a bit more thoughtful about what you might be doing to our water supply.

All that begins to add up over time so you have this massive tidal wave of emotion appreciating the importance of food because we have forgotten fundamentally that when you walk into a grocery store, you're walking into a pharmacy. There's a sacredness to that food that's irreplaceable, and when you lose food supply, and we are in this country, it is hard to get it back.

Forget about the subtleties of monoculture versus multi-culture foods or whether we had the right number of GMO crops, forget about all that stuff, the fundamental reality is, that the amount of nutrients in the food that we eat, whether it's from the soil or how they're grown, is diminished dramatically over the last 50 years, and what we're eating has changed over the last several generations, and that is a perfect storm for a nutritionally depleted population.

And that in part leads to obesity because the brain is not looking for calories, it's looking for nutrients. And so if you're feeding it calories, you'll keep looking for more food because you're looking for nutrients, and eventually you'll just have to eat a lot more food to get nutrients you wanted.

So guess what? Not surprising, you gain weight.