U.S. food environment promotes weight gain

It’s easy to access large portions of cheap, unhealthy food in the U.S., which sets people up for weight gain, Sara Bleich, professor of public health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a February 10, 2020 New York Times article.

Bleich and Zachary Ward, a programmer and analyst at the School’s Center for Health Decision Science, recently published a study that found that about half of the adult U.S. population will have obesity and about a quarter will have severe obesity by 2030.

“From a policy perspective,” Ward said in the Times, “prevention is the way to go. Children aren’t born obese, but we can already see excessive weight gain as early as age 2. Changes in the food environment are needed at every level—local, state and federal. It’s hard for individuals to voluntarily change their behavior.”

One suggestion offered by Bleich is that restaurants could gradually make their meals healthier, and make lower-calorie meals the default option.

Read the New York Times article: Half of Us Face Obesity, Dire Projections Show

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Changing the food environment (Harvard Chan School podcast)