Our food and healthcare systems are broken; they are not serving public health and are even putting certain communities at a disproportionate risk. We are up against social, economic, environmental, and political dysfunctions that contribute to chronic disease. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke are the leading causes of death, and premature death at that, in the US. These diseases all have several risk factors in common, like smoking, physical inactivity, and poor diet, which policy often views simply as personal choices. But you can’t make healthy choices if you don’t have healthy choices available. There are social and cultural inputs at play and many reasons we need to begin looking at health beyond the individual and on a community and population-based level.
Today’s guest on The Doctor’s Farmacy is the perfect person to weigh-in on these issues. Dr. Sonia Angell is a Deputy Commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), overseeing the Division of Prevention and Primary Care. Throughout her career, she has overseen nutrition-related policy initiatives, including restricting trans fat use in NYC restaurants, launching the National Salt Reduction Initiative, establishing food procurement nutrition standards for NYC government agencies, and establishing sodium warning labels in chain restaurants and expanding calorie labeling regulations.