Reversing the downward health trend in Oregon

Dr. ThornburgAt first, most people are shocked to learn that their susceptibility for acquiring heart disease and other chronic diseases was determined by the time they were born. They are also amazed to learn that the nourishment offered to their brain in their first two years of life influenced their ability to think well as adults and to perform as a mother or father. Once people have thought about these facts, they make sense. After all, the foundation for all the organs in the body including the heart and brain is made before birth and during infancy. Thus it is only logical that a person needs a solid foundation to have a sound body and healthy body for life.

While it may be a new idea to some, scientists have known for more than a decade that delivering an ample supply of good nutrients to baby as it develops prenatally is required for it to have a long healthy life. Because this is true for every baby born in Oregon, the general health of the entire population in the state of Oregon is in large part determined by the nutrition of mothers.   

The sad news is that we Oregonians have joined the citizens of other states in one aspect. Our health is worsening. Compared to last decade, we now have more obesity, more type 2 diabetes, more uncontrolled high blood pressure and smaller babies being born. This trend will lead to increased health care costs in the near future. The worsening health has been occurring as the diets of Americans trend away from healthy foods toward processed and fast foods. 

Bob and Charlee Moore of Bob’s Red Mill understood the health problem we Oregonians are facing and they have stepped forward to help reverse the downward health trend in Oregon by generously donating funds to establish a new institute at OHSU. The OHSU Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness has as its primary goal the improvement of diets of young girls, women and children (and men too) in Oregon. The institute is an example of the power unleashed when a philanthropic gift from a mission-driven donor, OHSU and our community all come together. 

Progress in the area of nutrition improvement will be made when we all work together. The Moore Institute’s mission requires the help of fellow scientists, doctors, nurses, foundations, policy makers, community organizers and friends of every stripe. International experts will be needed too. Please join us – Bob and Charlee Moore, OHSU and our community partners – in making Oregon the best place for babies to grow and for adults to have long and healthy lives. Let us know how you can help.

Kent Thornburg
April 2012

Kent L. Thornburg, PhD
Interim Director, OHSU Moore Institute
M. Lowell Edwards Chair for Research
Professor and Associate Chief for Research, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Director, Heart Research Center