Category: Chronic Disease

The epidemic within the pandemic: underlying health conditions

Developmental origins unravel the root causes

While COVID-19 has reached pandemic proportions, it is not the only pandemic we are facing. 

In the U.S., the severity of COVID-19 is associated with preexisting, chronic conditions. In addition to age, the CDC lists cancer, kidney disease, lung disease, weakened immune system, obesity, serious heart conditions and type 2 diabetes among the most common underlying conditions that portend a severe infection.

Read more

Veggie Rx: using food as medicine

It’s not just about more food; it’s about the right kind of food

Veggie Rx is just what it sounds like: a doctor-ordered vegetable and fruit prescription. Why would a doctor prescribe fresh produce? Because fresh food can be used like medicine to manage and prevent diseases caused by eating an unhealthy diet. Diseases like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

The reality is that even though our nation produces an ample supply of high-quality produce and whole foods,

Read more

Often overlooked, adolescent nutrition plays key role in health

Nutrition is important at all stages of life, but during adolescence it plays a particularly important role.

Any parent who has had to buy their child three different sizes of pants over the course of one school year will know that adolescents grow more during this time period than at any other time except infancy. So it goes without saying that adolescents have increased nutritional needs.

About half of a healthy body mass is gained during adolescence.

Read more

Why SNAP Matters

Proposed cuts would cause poor health outcomes in this generation and the next

The next few weeks will see plenty of news stories about the potentially devastating effects of President Trump’s proposed budget, especially the proposed 29 percent cut to SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or what used to be known as food stamps.

A program that’s been around since the 1960s, SNAP has been studied extensively and consistently been shown to be effective in lifting people out of poverty and reducing the number of people who are food insecure.

Read more

The seeds of heart disease risk are planted before birth

Once rare, heart disease is now world's leading killer

Heart disease, rare only a century ago, is now the most common cause of death worldwide. Many explanations for this meteoric rise have been put forth, but most have fallen well short of explaining how this once rare chronic disease could kill the equivalent of the population of Portland, Oregon each year.

About 25 years ago an English epidemiologist named David Barker found that areas of England with high rates of infant deaths following WWII had high rates of adult death from heart disease 50 years later.

Read more

Boys grow dangerously in the womb

Men pay price with shorter lifespans for rapid growth before birth

It won’t surprise anyone to hear that boys and girls are very different creatures, but to find that these differences are noticeable at the earliest stages of development has surprised even scientists. Differences in growth patterns are seen from the moment of fertilization and have long-term implications for adult health.

Upon fertilization, an egg is already carrying the entire genetic blueprint of a new individual, including the sex,

Read more

“We all have a role to play in a food revolution that has the power to reduce or wipe out chronic disease in future generations.”

Kent Thornburg, Ph.D.

A New Year’s resolution that could help end heart disease

Nutrition now means a healthier you and a healthier community

January is a time to think about positive changes, and often our resolutions have to do with health and healthy eating. As you work toward meeting your resolutions this year, take heart and get some added motivation by knowing that your food choices today may eradicate chronic diseases by the end of the century. Incredible, right? But true.

A growing body of research has given us new insight into the origins of chronic disease and indicates that susceptibility to diseases like obesity,

Read more

How birth weight predicts our risk for adult chronic disease

How we grow before we're born and in the first years of life matters

Did you know that your birth weight can predict whether you will develop heart disease, diabetes or certain other chronic diseases later in life? Wacky, but true.

Thanks to research into the Developmental Origins of Health & Disease (DOHaD) over the past 20 years, we know that babies born at the lower end of the normal birth weight range experience greater rates of chronic disease throughout life.

Read more

Food as medicine

How a healthy diet now can end chronic disease in future generations

You may already know that the food a woman eats while pregnant and breastfeeding has a direct effect on her developing baby, but you may not know that what a woman eats prior to conceiving is just as important.

Good nutrition before becoming pregnant creates a healthy body that will be ready to nourish a developing baby. While a woman provides the environment that supports and nurtures her developing child,

Read more

How we grow before we’re born matters

The current generation of children is the third generation to eat processed foods and will be the first generation ever in the U.S. to live shorter lives than their parents. We now know that the nutrition we receive before we are born and in the first years of life affects our risk for developing chronic disease. Watch OHSU Moore Institute director Kent Thornburg at TEDxPortland explain more.

Read more