Yes, SAD is the acronym for our Standard American Diet. And considering how our overall health is declining, it is an extremely appropriate acronym. As a matter of fact, our poor diet isn’t just bad for us, it is now considered a threat to our national security.
Results of SAD
Unhealthy diets are bigger indicators of ill health than either tobacco or high blood pressure.
Diet related illnesses are a growing burden on the United States economy, as well as, impacting our national security, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Poor nutrition is the leading cause of illnesses in the US, with unhealthy diets killing more than half a million people each year.
Numbers show that about 46% of adults in the US have an overall poor quality diet, and that 56% of our children have a poor quality diet. This affects our government budgets on every level - federal, state, county and city. It also, affects the competitiveness of our private sectors and workers’ wages.
The United States healthcare spending has nearly tripled from 1979 to 2018, from 6.9% to 17.7% of our gross domestic product. I can’t even imagine what the percentage is in 2020 with COVID-19 costs.
“While social and economic factors such as lower education, proverty, bias, and reduced opportunities are major contributors to population disparities(differences), they are likewise major barriers to healthy food access and proper nutrition,” according to the research. “Poor diets lead to a harsh cycle of lower academic achievement in school, lost productivity at work, increased chronic disease risk, increased out-of-pocket health costs and poverty for the most vulnerable Americans.”
Lack of proper nutrition is also a threat to our national security, the study shows. Diet related illnesses are harming the readiness of the US military and the budgets of the US Department of Defense(DoD) and the US Department of Veterans Affairs(VA).
Facts from 2018, show that 71% of people between the ages of 17 and 24 do not qualify for military service, with obesity being the leading medical disqualifier. And we all know that the health and overall well-being of a lot of our vets is in such poor shape as to be embarrassing to our nation.
What’s behind our SAD lifestyle? We don’t eat enough healthy foods, including, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Instead, we are eating too much sugar, salt, and processed items. And even us with good intentions find ourselves procrastinating and never following though with action. Improving our diets does not need to involve any big expensive tricks. We can do our own research and keep our motivation going. Here are some ideas;
Grow your own food. There are plenty of gardening books and websites available for free. If you live in an apartment, plant in a flower box.
Farmers’ Markets are always a source for local produce.
Not sure how to prepare a fresh pot of vegetable soup, instead of heating from a can? Google will locate 100s of vegetable soup recipes for you to select from!
Check out the produce isle at your grocery store. Avoid the sugar isle.
Can’t always find fresh corn or beets? Buy frozen and/or canned, but check the ingredients for added ‘things’ that you can’t pronounce.
Avoid processed foods and learn to read the labels.
Can’t do without your processed meat - add some broccol to your plate. Decrease the unhealthy portions and increase the healthy foods.
Be prepared for your taste buds to be surprised at first. But they will get used to tasting real food and actually transition to enjoying healthy foods.
Include your family members in improving everyone’s health.
We all have seen and read that being in good health increases our resilience to COVID-19. Yet another reason to change our SAD lifestyle. Life is short enough without needlessly spending our time in poor health. Stay healthy and be safe
If you are a medical professional and would like to contribute to this page, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!