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Think Tanks & Impact

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Aspen Institute is an international, nonprofit think tank founded in 1949 as the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies.

The 2019 annual Ideas Festival will take place from June 20 through June 29 on the Aspen Colorado campus. The Health segment opens on June 20 this year.

This Ideas Festival has specifically earned a reputation for gathering diverse, nonpartisan thought leaders, creatives, scholars, and members of the public to address some of the world's most complex problems. 

The goal is to have an impact beyond the conference room. The ideas presented are designed to provoke, further, and improve actions taken in the real world.

Amid the hoopla and distractions of recent elections, real issues have been raised and discussed. Questions have been posed, and answers proffered on wide-ranging topics including climate crisis, immigration, jobs, health care, tax policy, education, the courts, the arts, humanities, our relations with China, Russia, North Korea, England, Europe, Canada, Mexico, the proposed wall and many more.

According to Aspen Institute speakers at a recent Ideas festival, poor nutrition continues to be the leading cause of illness in the United States and globally, causing more deaths and disability than any other factor.

The current administration has so far ignored a health topic, which is among the biggest challenges and opportunities of our time: our food. Whether for health, the environment, or the economy, nutrition is a dominant issue facing the world today.

Our food system is reported to be one of the leading causes of rising CO2 levels and environmental impact on the planet. How we grow our food accounts for 70 percent of water use, 90 percent of tropical deforestation, as well as immense challenges to the oceans and fish stock.

Combining these health and environmental impacts, how we eat is easily one of the major economic issue of our time. We spend more than 3 trillion dollars each year on health care—more than all our military spending, and nearly 1 in 5 dollars of the entire US economy.

We are fooling ourselves by arguing about cost-control through changes in insurance access, tort reform, co-payments, drug development and pricing. The best way to substantially reduce the hundreds of billions of dollars we spend each year on preventable and curable diseases is through improved lifestyle choices, and especially better dietary habits.

How many times do we have to receive and send this message?

This should be nutrition's time

We desperately need another White House Conference on nutrition. The last and only such conference was held in 1969 - 47 years ago during President Richard Nixon's administration. A new, executive-level emphasis on food and nutrition is essential for health, hunger, medical care, jobs, the economy and planetary sustainability.

Ellen Troyer and the Biosyntrx staff


For our readers who might be interested, we also highly recommend the Aspen Institute's Five Best Ideas of the Day, which you can register for here and receive in your inbox every day at noon.