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Try This – How to Change Our Rigged System with 5 Simple Policies

Twenty percent of our nation’s youth are obese! 

That’s 1 in 5 kids! 

And the crazy thing is, when you add up the amount of kids who are overweight or obese, it accounts for almost 50 percent of children in the United States. This is staggering!

This is a stark contrast to other countries, like Japan, which has an obesity rate of only 4 percent among children.

This is truly a national emergency, and we need a new path forward—for children and adults! 

Last week I came across an X thread (formerly Twitter) by my friend, wellness advocate, coauthor of Good Energy, and cofounder of Truemed, Calley Means, who shared his proposal for how we can break free from this crisis, and today I want to re-share his ideas with you.

With 2024 being an election year, there is an incredible opportunity to get every political candidate, especially presidential candidates, talking about our chronic disease and obesity crisis.

Calley’s thread reminds us that we don’t have to accept the status quo and that there are indeed solutions that could help us tackle this problem if enough of us make our voices heard.

Let’s jump into Calley’s five recommendations for moving the country in the right direction!

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Recommendation 1: Ban Big Pharma TV Ads

Calley writes: The United States and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that allow pharmaceutical advertisements. Big Pharma money accounts for 55 percent of television news spending, and the reason they spend so much is not to influence consumers; it’s to influence the news itself. (He who controls the news dictates the conversation.) 

Did you know that the president has the power to instruct the Food and Drug Administration Office of Prescription Drug Promotion to ban Big Pharma ads tomorrow? 

Dhru’s commentary: Anytime I talk to visitors from other countries, they are shocked to see how much airtime is given to Big Pharma. I rarely watch regular cable, but when I find myself watching it, I’m also appalled by the amount of ads I see for pharmaceuticals. Not only is this a form of brainwashing, it’s also a form of controlling the narrative.

The United States has the largest pharmaceutical market in the world, and Big Pharma spends billions of dollars on advertising every single year. This number increased during the pandemic and has remained high! And we saw what happened during the pandemic: even legitimate questions and concerns about vaccines, boosters, and lockdowns were deterred on the news and social media because of the direct and indirect influence of Big Pharma.

Policy around pharma ads needs to change, but in the meantime, we can vote with our attention and support independent media over legacy media.

Recommendation 2: No Soda on SNAP (Food Stamps)

Calley writes: It is criminal that 10 percent of all SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) funding goes to sugary drinks, which are leading to one-third of teens developing prediabetes. 

Using existing drug policy, the president can issue an executive order tomorrow that government money should not subsidize an addictive, toxic substance for kids. 

Dhru’s commentary: It’s a shame that folks in need of assistance are not given access to things like “hot foods,” which can save them time to prepare quality meals for their families, but the number one foods bought on SNAP are sugar-sweetened beverages. Reducing access to ultra-processed foods actually works, just like reducing access and increasing warnings on cigarettes worked to cut down on the nation’s smoking habit.

Recommendation 3: Fire the Corrupt USDA Nutrition Panel 

Calley writes: Ninety-five percent of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) panel that makes nutrition policy is bought and paid for by food companies. Is it any wonder, then, that this panel recommends that 10 percent of a two-year-old’s diet can be added sugar?! 

The president can fire this panel tomorrow and insist on unbiased guidelines. 

Dhru’s commentary: The people in charge of making the most important decisions about our and our children’s health should not be paid off. These recommendations need to come from unbiased decision-making, rooted in what is best for the health of human beings. Check out this eye-opening article that sheds light on the connection between our nutrition panel, Big Food, and Big Pharma including Nestlé, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, and more.  

Recommendation 4: No Conflicts of Interest among NIH Researchers

Calley writes: This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s a radical suggestion. Currently, there are no conflict-of-interest bans at the NIH (National Institutes of Health), and 8,000 researchers have “major” conflicts. 

This is why 40 times more money is spent on ways to “manage” cancer than to prevent it. Prevention doesn’t make any money for Big Pharma. 

Dhru’s commentary: We know that prevention works. In fact, some major studies have shown that lifestyle recommendations often beat out pharmaceutical interventions, especially when it comes to things like type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Unfortunately, the question of “How does this drug intervention compare to lifestyle recommendation?” is being left out of the conversation. Many doctors walk away with the notion that drugs are the best option and “softer” interventions like eating healthy and exercise don’t work—when they do! 

Recommendation 5: Reform Insane Agriculture Subsidies 

Calley writes: Today, the federal government subsidizes tobacco more than vegetables. Ninety percent of agriculture subsidies go to the components of ultra-processed food (corn, soy, wheat), which distorts incentives for farmers. These subsidies are implemented by the Agriculture Department. 

Dhru’s commentary: Just think about how crazy this is: According to Justin Mares, Calley’s cofounder at Truemed, “Cigarettes receive four times more government subsidies than fruit/veggies.” I know there are a lot of layers to this topic, but in what world does that make sense? 

Concluding Thoughts

As bleak as this all sounds, we must remember this powerful quote from Margaret Mead:

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

I do believe that “we the people” have the power to help our leaders understand what is most important when it comes to our health and the health of our children. We can demand change with our voices. 

We can also demand change with our vote… 

Our vote for the food we purchase, the media we consume, and the examples we set within our families and communities. 

If you want to learn more about Calley and his work, check out Truemed, which helps you find and buy preventative therapies covered by HSA/FSA dollars.

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Calley and Casey’s book, Good Energy: The Surprising Connection Between Metabolism and Limitless Health. It truly is a fantastic read!

Dhru Purohit