While the excitement surrounding the election of our 44th President of the United States is slowly dying down, the buzz on politics certainly hasn’t diminished in my neck of the woods. While the economy is certainly the most talked about topic, I’ve been happy to hear both President Obama and his wife address issues of health, diet, and nutrition. So, I was intrigued to read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning, which addresses the issue of politics, food, and what our new President can do to support a healthcare policy that helps to reduce the incidence of chronic disease.
The author of the article, T. Colin Campbell, is the author of a book “The China Study.” If you are at all interested in the link beween diet and the development of “Western Diseases” (think cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes), take a look at his website and consider reading the book. His findings are quite significant.
In this article, Dr. Campbell suggests 3 health care improvement strategies to President Obama:
1. Change the way government develops its dietary guidelines. Currently, these guidlines are heavily influenced by large money-making industries such as sugar, dairy, and the meat industry. He suggests a clear rule: “no scientist with financial ties to the food and drug industries should chair – or choose the members of – panels that set dietary guidelines.”
2. President Obama should establish a new institute at the National Institutes of Health dedicated exclusively to exploring the link between diet, health and disease. Today, there are 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, but none devoted to nutrition, despite the great public interest in the subject.
3. Congress should require that medical schools – as a condition of receiving federal grants – offer residency programs on dietary approaches to preventing and treating disease.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Do you think President Obama has the determination and ability to promote policies that are not influenced by powerful lobbyists? Would these changes improve the delivery of health care services? What would the lasting impact be on the health of our citizens?