How COVID-19 Shines A Light On Our Broken Food System with Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian


We want to talk today about what seems to be unrelated to Cova Nineteen which is an infectious disease but it's diet and chronic disease and you wrote an article with the former secretary of agriculture. Dan Glickman that was posted on. Cnn entitled Can Diet Flatten the curve for covert nineteen and it's sort of like How does that even make sense? So we've heard all about these ideas of fighting. The curb was social dissing handwashing washing and contact tracing an isolation testing but your article presented a very different view about how we can use food and nutrition and specific nutrients to actually help us address. This pandemic so. Can you tell us why you wrote this article and why this is more important than ever to address these issues? Yeah I think markets really clear that that to those of US following this crisis that cove nineteen has really laid bare these incredible challenges. These incredible disparities is incredible unreasonable aspects of our food system. Are there so many ways that that covered nineteen influenced student? Nutrition and nutrition Kobe. Nineteen back up at at all. Just go through quickly and we can go about each of them so you know. One is immunity the actual immune response to Cova and then you actually the blunting of the excessive inflammatory response to cove. We can talk about nutrition and actually the immune response to is is hunger and food insecurity which of course 'cause incredible human suffering with this economic shutdown lost wages at schools being closed but also we know from long clinical experience malnourishment further predispose people to infection. So that's the site and that doesn't mean and that doesn't mean skinny and wasted away could be that your nutrient deficient which is really common in America. Absolutely absolutely. There's one call hidden hunger. People look like they're getting food but there's hidden hunger because they're not getting the right the right nutrients and what's paradoxical is the most obese are often the most nutrient deficient when you look at their numbers. Right it's kind of interesting. Yeah and then. These other aspects of Kobe crucial to to you know of just quickly mention our third. The incredible intersections supply chains and food. Waste and getting food to people we. We don't really have a national food system even global food system. We have this fractured supply chain. That's now becomes you know very very dire And then I think one of the one of the most important things for really thinking about covert long term. Because this is going to be with us for for some time. Many ears is the incredible relationship between for Metabolic Health Diabetes Hypertension Heart Disease Obesity and poor outcomes with Cova. The the latest analysis from New York which has had the most cases in in the United States showed that with each of those conditions diabetes hypertension of city. There is about two or three full higher risk two to three times higher risk of hospitals. And if you put those three things together lots of people have diabetes hypertension and obesity. There be sixteen fold higher risk of hospitalization. And so it's very it's very plausible. And we're modeling this now. It's very plausible. That you know. If we had a metabolic healthy population job it would be much much less severe. And so you know thinking about nutrition and immune response malnourishment and hunger and food insecurity disparities very high rates and african-americans very likely related to nutrition in a major way the challenges to food systems and supply chains food waste and then metabolic health. You know these are all things that that you and I and others who study food at about that that food nutrition or a dire challenge and an incredible opportunity to improve the health of the population but Kobe. Nineteenth really liked taking a you know a knife and slice down dessert that was hiding immediate objects and so you know if five years from now we're back to where we were a couple years ago and there's no improvement in our food system quality of the food the way we get it to people in science that we have to address questions. I would be just devastated. I would be so disappointed that we haven't realized the opportunity here to fix the food system. So filming in the straight. What you're saying is that if you have chronic diseases and multiple chronic diseases that your risk of being hospitalized sixteen times higher that if you're metabolical unhealthy more likely to get sick because your immune system isn't working and then only twelve percent of us are actually healthy so that means if we actually had a healthy population that was eating a diet that created metabolic health instead of the opposite. Which we're doing now that this may just be a bad flu and we wouldn't have full hospitals in a society that shutdown and trillions of dollars in economic losses. All the evidence supports that you know. Of course we can't do a randomized trial and wave a wand and make everybody know about healthy to test that but all the evidence suggests that you know as you said. I'm based on national data. Only twelve percent of adults in this country are metabolic Healthy that's just taking things like waste. Your Conference Blood Glucose blood pressure cholesterol. It just measure those things. Only twelve percent of adults or metabolic be healthy and most of those people in their twenties right. You haven't yet really had a lifetime of for die in for lifestyle. And so the vast vast majority of American adults over forty are metabolic late unhealthy and given these associations you know as I mentioned even just one of these risk factors. You're doubling or tripling the risk of hospitals ation and you start piling up together In terms of risk of death is in so few debts especially under age. Seventy unless there's at least one of these other conditions. Yeah and so. It's very plausible. That if we had a very healthy population you know. Instead of a twelve percent medically healthy. We had twelve percent metabolic the unhealthy. What if nine of were metaphor healthy then in nineteen would be a far far less severe disease? Many many fewer hospitalizations fewer deaths. We wouldn't be shutting down the economy we wouldn't have. These hospitals overloaded our healthcare providers but insulted dangerous petit and working chefs on an and. What's really important here is that we can actually fix this now in real time. And so you know. It doesn't take years and years and years to reverse diabetes or to reverse hypertension or Reverse for metabolic health. Yeah does take years and years to change. Wait for many people but metabolic health. Whatever your weight. We can pretty rapidly improving. Edibala cal over months sometimes even shorter. But so yeah so the country. In addition to the things that we're doing social distancing and testing we should be launching a national campaign to improve the way we move and eat to improve our metabolic health

Coming up next