We have grown up in a society that continues to become heavier and heavier. Why is it that our generation is the first of its kind to have a child be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? My first interaction with the disease occurred when one of my best friends was determined to have type 1 diabetes and I visited him in the hospital. I was only twelve at the time and didn’t truly understand what that meant. The one thing I do remember is the changes that occurred in my friend’s life following the event. I can recall him carrying around a small book that had the nutritional facts of foods that most fast food restaurants served and the expected insulin needed. I found this strange because I grew up in a family that rarely ate fast food and if we ever did, I was never very excited about the occasion. The issue is that how and why did he and many other Americans become diabetic at such a young age? My friend was never a heavyset child, but somehow he got the disease. Now that I look back at the experience I begin to realize that the problem was that he might not have been physically showing the health affects of fast food, but it was still affecting his body in a negative way.
Well then how can a company change the outcome of a child’s life, especially families that don’t have enough money or time to buy healthier options? Well the essential issue it that the government is funding the fattening of our society. The fast food industry is so imbedded in our government so much so that they influence the subsidization of different crops and products. This allows them to produce large amounts of corn that is then fed to the different animals, usually cows and chickens, to fatten them up in time for slaughter. The corn is also turned into high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that can be found in most fast food and grocery store items. The essential problem is that there needs to be an organization that has enough influence in the government to change where the subsidies are spent and direct it to a different crop. This would allow a company to grow healthy products, which can be then sold at a much lower price.
Another lower cost option is to use the current system and attempt to create better food options, specifically for lower income families. These families are affected the most by fast food and diabetes because they believe that they have no other options to choose from. A company that is changing that is Daily Table, which was founded by the former president of Trader Joe’s. As the former president of the grocery store chain, he knows the amount of food that has to be thrown out because it becomes too close to its expiration date. He took this knowledge and partnered with local grocery stores and food suppliers by accepting donated food that is close to going bad. They would then ensure that it was still safe to eat and sell it at extremely low prices or clean it and turned it into premade foods. This created jobs in the area and allowed low-income families to pay prices close to or less than fast food while keeping their families healthy. The grocery store has done extremely well and is supposed to opening more locations in the future. This concept could be replicated across the US. The only issue is that it is limited by the amount of donations. Even though this may be the most viable option, it all depends on whether the government will make a change. This countries obesity rates will continue to rise until the healthier food options are the same price as the unhealthy ones. This country is need of change, because obesity is not only affecting the families of the individuals, but the entire healthcare system.
Photo Credit: http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/food-production/influencing-other-countries-diets