The worsening health of the U.S. population over the last generation is evidenced by a large body of research. A number of factors predict a health care crisis in the decades ahead:
Less nutritious diets and declining physical activity
Decreasing average birth weight
Increasing rates of obese and overweight adults and children
Increasing rates of type 2 diabetes
Increasing rates of uncontrolled hypertension
Increasing rates of hospitalization from heart failure
Increasing rates of nutrition-related chronic disease in minority populations
Declining longevity and reduced quality of life
These factors will precipitate and prolong a severe health care economic crisis as greater numbers of people will require increasingly intensive health care services over the coming decades.
Fortunately the foundation of scientific knowledge needed to reduce the burden of disease and create healthier communities has already been laid: The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHAD) is a growing body of research that shows that gene-environment interactions, beginning in the womb, play a critical role in determining an individual's life-long health profile. In other words, our adult health experiences are shaped during the earliest moments of life.
This research demonstrates that the health of individuals and, by extension, the population, depends on good nutrition immediately before and during the first 1,000 days after conception. Further, the effects of poor nutrition in early life are passed on to subsequent offspring resulting in an enduring effect over two to three generations.
Thus, the health of the next two generations, and the associated costs of health care, will be determined by the nutrition mothers and their children receive today.
A revolution in how we eat, especially among young girls, women of childbearing age and pregnant women, would immediately lead to dramatic improvements in individual health and well-being. In the long run, our communities would be healthier, which, in turn, would translate into significant economic benefits for society.
Wholesome nutrition includes the daily consumption of whole grains, fruit, vegetables and low-fat sources of protein and minimal amounts of sugars, sweetened drinks and animal-based fats.
The mission of the OHSU Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness is to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases throughout life by promoting healthy, nutrient-rich diets based on wholesome foods before conception, during pregnancy and lactation, and in infancy and early childhood.
The OHSU Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness is dedicated to improving the health of people across the globe to ensure a healthy future for the next generations.