In the last 35 years, obesity rates in the United States have more than doubled among adults and children aged two to 11, and quadrupled among adolescents. 71% of the U.S. population currently has obesity or is overweight, the highest rate in all high-income countries. The high prevalence among youth is particularly concerning. Children are becoming obese at a young age and experts warn that the current generation of young people may be the first to be more sick and die younger than their parents’ generation. It is not surprising then, that obesity has been called a public health issue of monumental importance to the nation.
It is estimated that treating obesity alone costs the U.S. healthcare system between $147 billion and $210 billion each year. By 2025, the costs of treating diseases linked to obesity in the United States are likely to reach $555 billion. In 2016, more than 500,000 deaths in the United States were caused by, or contributed to, by one or more diet-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancers.
Food insecurity is defined as the inability to meet the food needs of all household members. Many people living in the United States are deeply affected by food insecurity. Almost one in eight people eats poor quality diets, with limited diversity or even suffers from overall reduced food intake at some time throughout the year. The prevalence of food insecurity varies by race and disproportionally impacts black and Hispanic communities.
In 2016, of the 15.6 million food insecure households in the United States, 9.4 million were able to avoid eating less by changing what they ate, rather than how much they ate or by utilizing a food aid program. However, 6.1 million households faced very low food security, resulting, at some times in the year, in the distribution of eating habits and a reduction of food intake.
The Access to Nutrition Index rates food and beverage manufacturers´ nutrition-related policies, practices and disclosures worldwide on a recurring basis.
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