According to new research, from a white paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a poor diet isn’t just a threat to a person’s health, it’s also harmful to national security.
Federal Nutrition Research Advisory Group(FNRAG) concluded that poor nutrition is the leading cause of illnesses in the country, and results in over a half million deaths a year, damages to the U.S economy, and health disparities that overall worsen national safety. According to the organization, 46% of adults suffer from it, as well as 56% of children.
The United States has nearly tripled its healthcare spending from 1979 to 2018. FNRAG suggests that the rise of healthcare costs is directly related to the rates of poor diets and causes strain on the federal budget. Now, what does this have to with national security?
Well, under the federal budget is the Department of Defense, which defends the country from threats abroad. With added weight to the overall national costs, our military readiness to combat international dangers is slowed down significantly. Additionally, the leading reason that 71% of people do not qualify for the military is due to health issues, caused by poor diet, such as obesity.
Furthermore, the growth of healthcare spending harms the American private sector, by increasing costs for employee health plans, individual health plans, medical supplies, and many other necessary needs for the nation’s health.
The paper adds, "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."
Dr.Dariush Mozaffarian MD, Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University and co-author of the paper says, "Every day, our country suffers massive health, social, and economic costs of poor diets."
He adds, “major national effort to address current nutrition challenges, generating the critical science to rapidly treat and prevent diet-related diseases, improve health equity, increase population resilience to Covid-19 and future pandemics, and drive fundamental and translational discoveries for better lives.”