The U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world—and the way we eat has a lot to do with that.
Chronic metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are increasingly widespread and enormously costly to treat. Evidence shows that increasing our consumption of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables can help prevent these diseases.
Yet the typical diet misses the mark: we eat too much meat, processed foods, and sugar, and only about half the amount of fruits and vegetables that federal dietary guidelines recommend.
Inequities in the U.S. food system make it especially challenging for low-income people to eat the kind of healthy diet that can reduce their risk of chronic illness. So improving community food environments could have a powerful positive impact on public health, saving both lives and dollars.