How the U.S. Government Can Fight Obesity

It's time for the government to use the power and influence of the dietary guidelines to fight obesity.
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Co-authored with Joseph Scalzo, President and CEO, Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

More than 30 years ago the United States government seemingly got into the healthy eating business, through the introduction of the first dietary guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Since then, America's obesity rate has doubled.

Coincidence? We think not.

The guidelines - which recommend avoiding fats and ignores current scientific data demonstrating the health benefits of low-carbohydrate diets - have consequently led America down the path to overconsumption of starches, sugars, and carbohydrates.

Today, America is facing a serious and growing public health crisis - a crisis that has grossly increased America's waistline, skyrocketed healthcare costs (by nearly $210 billion per year according to recent estimates) and continues to put millions of lives in danger.

As the obesity epidemic rages out of control, so do the health issues such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes and costs associated with it. In fact, according to a recent Journal of the American Medical Association article, it's estimated that at least 52 percent of Americans today have diabetes or pre-diabetes, an illness that continues to grow and take an increasing economic toll.

With the next set of dietary guidelines expected to be announced by the end of this year, it's time for Washington to stop ignoring the facts and acknowledge that the current dietary guidelines aren't working. It's time for the government to acknowledge the increasing concerns from medical researchers regarding the promotion of low-fat diets while finally taking notice of the numerous, legitimate scientific studies that show that a low-carb diet has numerous health benefits and is critical to heart health, weight loss, and diabetes prevention.

It's time we have nutrition guidance that utilizes today's science and actually promotes eating healthier, saving lives and reducing medical costs.

Americans concerned about the public health crisis of obesity are refusing to accept the status quo. The preliminary 2015 Dietary Guidelines generated an unprecedented number of comments and in October, the House of Representatives held hearings regarding their concerns about the guidelines and some in Congress are threatening to withhold funds for their implementation. The general public is also letting their voice be heard with more than 22,000 signing a petition demanding the U.S. government use "current, quality science" in determining the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

It's time for the government to use the power and influence of the dietary guidelines to fight obesity.

You can help us put an end to the whitewashing the benefits of low-carb eating and demand that the guidelines are based on current, quality science by signing the petition here.

The fate of the nation's health - the well-being of Americans and our economy - depends on it.

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. is a client of MWWPR