April 21, 2023

The time to act on repairing our food system is now.

Major policy discussions currently underway in Washington are wrapped around one piece of legislation that will impact Americans’ relationship with food for years to come: The 2023 farm bill.

Last reviewed, passed and signed into law in 2018, the farm bill is once again up for discussion. And with discussion comes opportunity for change.

One area where we are desperate for change is America’s broken food system.

Our diet is killing us. Fewer than 7 percent of all Americans are metabolically healthy. Six in 10 U.S. adults live with chronic disease, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Each year, more Americans die from chronic disease than from any other cause, making our nation especially vulnerable to pandemics and driving the expenditure of $4.1 trillion annually on health care.

Our federal food policy system spends billions of dollars on agriculture, nutrition and health every year, but rewards unhealthy and unsustainable farming, food and medical practices. In fact, today’s practice and allocation of funds are reflective of 1930s era data — severely outdated. And it’s costing Americans’ lives.

The way our current food system operates ignores the abundance of new, transformative data we have and must use to put into practice a new vision for food, nutrition and farming.

The time to act on repairing our food system is now.

Undertaking a project of such magnitude is not an easy feat. But I am driven by a cause I feel deeply in my heart. It is why I have written many books on the issue, and it’s why I started the “Food Fix Campaign.”

I truly believe that if our country supported a food system that rewarded nutrition, we all would live healthier, longer lives; chronic disease would be eradicated; federal spending on health care would be greatly reduced; and national security would be safeguarded by enhanced human resilience.

Doing so requires us to dig into the very real policy implications that the food system in its current form — fractured and mangled — has on our population. We will be challenged to reimagine the way federal dollars are spent on food programs and agriculture and farming.

I urge Washington decision-makers to heed the warning signs and make the most of this opportunity. The modern American diet is making our people sick. And the farm bill provides the chance to achieve transformative change by making them healthier.

Lawmakers face opportunities with 2023 farm bill

The Hill

By Dr. Mark Hyman

April 20, 2023