A nutrition expert says treatment of chronic health issues, much of which stems from unhealthy food choices, is costing too much and is unnecessary. He says the medical profession and food and agriculture sector could and shoud work together on prevention.

A nutrition expert says treatment of chronic health issues, many of which stem from unhealthy food choices, is costing too much and is unnecessary. He says the medical profession and food and agriculture sector could and should work together on prevention rather than the bigger issues later of treatment
Photo Credit: CBC

Expert: Food industry and medicine need to work together on disease prevention

Share

A Canadian nutrition expert says the ever rising costs of treating chronic health problems cannot continue.

Harvey Anderson says better cooperation and collaboration between the agricultural/food sector and medical sector is needed to get the message out about healthy foods, and dispelling popular food myths being spread about alleged problems with wheat, meat, dairy, and gluten.

Anderson is the  Executive Director, Centre for Child Nutrition and Health;  Director, Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs; and Professor, Nutritional Sciences and Physiology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto

 Listen

G Harvey Anderson PhD Departments of Nutritional Sciences , Department Physiology Director, Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs
G Harvey Anderson PhD Departments of Nutritional Sciences , Department Physiology Director, Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs © Agriculture, Life, Environmental Sciences, U Alberta

Professor Anderson says agriculture and medicine need to partner to work on preventative measures for health care, rather than spending enormous sums later to deal with chronic health problems.

These stem in large measure from poor food choices.

He points out that more than 67 percent of Canada’s health-care funds go to treating chronic diseases such as obesity, and other ailments related to our poor and excessive eating. This has meant that the cost of dealing with obesity and related health issues in Canada rose from $3.9 to $4.6 billion between 2000 and 2008.

Speaking recently at the University of Alberta, Anderson said, “If we keep doing that with health care, we won’t have any money for roads, universities, infrastructure, etc.,”

 He also notes that only 0.5 percent of the health care budget is spent on prevention, while the agricultural and food industry spends enormous sums responding  to food fads which are not  scientifically sound, confuse the public and take resources away from investment in food and nutrition research to advance our understanding of the role of our foods supply in health. 

on food fads which are not scientifically sound, such as gluten-free food.

Franken-wheat debunked

 CMAJ- recommendation on obesity 2015

Anderson says the agricultural sector also has to do a better job to dispel popular food myths and American
Anderson says the agricultural sector also has to do a better job to dispel popular food myths and American “noise” such as “wheat belly” and concerns over dairy products and gluten. © Robin van Lonkhuijsen/AFP/Getty Images)

 He says the media is partly to blame for giving too much credence to certain food “noise” coming primarily from the US, such as “wheat belly”, and on the other hand says both agriculture and medicine are not doing a good job in getting the facts and scientifically sound advice out to the public.

In the same vein, the agriculture industry is also “shooting itself in the foot” he says by focussing its promotion on economic benefits only, and not on the health benefits of its products.

He pointed to the decline in grain, potato and milk consumption as examples of this, noting that all are healthy foods being illogically shunned.

He also says the industry could be working to create healthy new products such as pulses in pasta, additionally a value-added product, instead of merely working to export its produce.

Professor Anderson points to countries such as Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands where agriculture, nutrition and medical studies are all closely allied in universities.

Healthy products, food regulation and improved medical treatments have contributed to a decrease in mortality rates (down 75 per cent since 1952 and 40 per cent in the last decade) according to Anderson

“We’re doing something right, but it’s expensive,” he said. “We are solving the problem with drugs, not food.”

He says the costs of prevention are far less than subsequent disease treatment and hopes the changes in direction he sees within the medical profession towards his viewpoint continues and grows.

Share
Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Animals, Economy, Education, Environment, Health, International

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*