We have to crawl before we can run
Our inspiration for the Better the Future blog
People have many reasons for wanting to change our food culture –from improving their own health, to improving the health of our planet, to ensuring equitable pay and jobs for employees across the food system.
We at the OHSU Moore Institute created the Better the Future blog to help catalyze this movement by offering a scientific justification for the changes already happening. We strive to offer compelling, accessible articles that are grounded in science. Articles focus on how our food culture impacts chronic disease and highlight the multiple social, cultural and economic factors that shape how and what we eat. Most articles conclude with three tangible steps –a crawl, a walk and a run –that readers can take to make an impact to our current food culture.
We believe that reducing the prevalence of chronic disease throughout life starts by promoting healthy, nutrient-rich diets based on wholesome foods –before conception, during pregnancy and lactation, and in infancy and early childhood. Our beliefs are grounded in the science of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, or DOHaD.
DOHaD provides the scientificunderstanding for how the environment we are exposed to before birth and during the first 1,000 days following conception affects our risk for developing chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. At the core of this science is how the nutritional environment of adolescent girls and women who are mothers or mothers-to-be affects not only their own chronic disease risk, but that of future generations as well.
Based on rapidly increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, we know the health of Americans is declining. Three generations of consuming a highly-processed diet lacking in nutrients has led us to this point. It is imperative to change our current food culture in order to halt the rising rates of chronic disease in this country.
However,we know change isn’t easy, especially the big social changes needed to impact what and how we eat. Change takes time. It takes individuals making small changes for themselves. It takes groups working together to impact change within their communities, schools and workplaces. It takes legislators passing policies that impact positive change across all communities and socioeconomic groups.
We can see the changes happening around us through increased interest in where our food comes from and how it is produced. Even 10 years ago, changes like:
- restaurant chains and major food producers promoting use of antibiotic-free meat, locally-sourced produce and removing artificial colors and flavors from their food
- SNAP benefits being accepted and sometimes even matched, at the ever-growing number of farmers markets
- increased awareness of food deserts and efforts to minimize them
would have been hard to imagine, but now are common. We believe that drawing more attention to the state of our current food culture and how it impacts our long-term health will help people work together to improve our food system and ultimately our health.