Health Outcomes And Social Determinants Of Health

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Policy Issue Area: Nutrition
Why does nutrition matter to health?
A brief summary of the evidence for issue area’s link to health outcomes/social determinants of health.
Good nutrition is a critical part of preventing obesity and chronic disease. What people eat is one of the most important determinants of whether they are overweight or obese.
• Excess consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are risk factors for obesity.1
• Between 1971 and 2000, the average daily calories consumed increased by 168 calories per day for men and 335 calories per day for women.
• Consumption of fruits and vegetables at or over the recommended five servings per day is associated with a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke. Greater consumption of fruits is also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
• People eat about one-third of their meals at restaurants, a figure that has almost doubled since the late 1970s.2 Fast food consumption is even higher among adolescents, with 75% eating fast food at least once a week.3
• Eating fast food more frequently is associated with a poor nutrition profile: higher intake of total calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium, and SSBs, and less consumption of fruits, vegetables and milk.3,4
• Consuming fast food is also associated with poor health outcomes, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.5
• In the United States, 80 percent of 2-19 year-olds consume at least one SSB daily.6
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