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In the Vegetarian & Vegan News...
   VegSource Interactive, Inc. | Health Coverage

The Health March

“Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care
is the most shocking and inhumane.”

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • In the past 20 years the U.S. has gone from first in the world for life expectancy to 19th in the world for women, and 29th for men (behind Slovenia).
  • The U.S. has the most expensive health care in the world, which the majority of its citizens cannot afford. We are the only country in the developed world, other than South Africa, which doesn't provide health care for all of its citizens.
  • Chronic disease in the U.S. has an excessive impact on minorities and the poor, with rates of cancer, arthritis, coronary heart disease, stroke and hypertension nearly double in African Americans than in the white population.
  • Costly illnesses trigger about half of all personal bankruptcies, and most of those who go bankrupt because of medical problems have health insurance, according to findings from a Harvard University study released in February 2005.
  • The U.S. Congress and President Bush recently signed legislation making it nearly impossible for individuals to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills.

 



Unless you are one of the fortunate few who profit from the U.S. health system (because you own a multi-national drug company or a chain of for-profit hospitals), the U.S. health care system is a shambles. Today we spend more than ever, get less care, and we're getting sicker.

And the U.S. government is complicit in this outrage against its citizens, not merely because it favors profiteers over people - but because information which could save lives is being actively suppressed by our politicians.

Professor Marion Nestle PhD M.P.H. is Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. She managed the editorial production of the first, and as yet only, Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health in 1989.

In her book Food Politics, Nestle says that on her first day on the job, "I was given the rules: No matter what the research indicated, the report could not recommend 'eat less meat' . . . because the (meat producers, whose bottom line) might be affected by such advice would complain to their beneficiaries in Congress, and the report would never be published."

No subsequent Surgeon General's Report has appeared, even though Congress passed a law in 1990 requiring that one be issued every two years. Why? The answer, according to Nestle, is food politics. She points out that "saturated fat and trans-saturated fat raise risks for heart disease, and the principal sources of such fats in American diets are meat, dairy, cooking fats, and fried, fast, and processed foods." Any advice of federal policies that sought to decrease consumption of these foods would cause the sellers of these foods "to complain to their friends in Congress," who would in turn prevent the report from being released to the public.

Pedestrian Power

When the government which is supposedly representing us is a failure at taking care of us, we have no choice but to take to the streets, to give people the information they're being denied, and to demand that things change.

EarthSave is ready to march, and we need your help. We need your bodies, we need your minds, we need your creativity, and we need your financial support.

Our plan is to organize a march in 2006 through the state of Mississippi to its capital, Jackson. Along the way, we'll stop in towns and hamlets to meet and mix with people and share information, camaraderie, and plant-based foods. The march will culminate with the presentation of a petition calling on Mississippi officials to do their jobs and take care of their people, not their campaign chests.

Why Mississippi? Because according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it is the fattest state in the Union; one-quarter of its population "is affected by childhood or adult-onset diabetes." Last year the CDC gave $1 million to help educate in Mississippi schools about health. It has given no such grants to any other state.

We're starting where the need is greatest, and if we have to march in every state in the Union, we'll do it, because U.S. citizens can't go on like this.

The fact is, many people today are getting sick with largely preventable diseases, diseases which can not only be prevented but reversed through a change in diet and lifestyle. Food companies -- and the politicians they own -- don't want people to get this information. So it's up to groups like EarthSave to help get it out.

Join Us

Many noted authors, medical doctors, and celebrities have already agreed to be involved in the Health March. We have begun assembling an exploratory committee inside of EarthSave to identify the tasks necessary to organize this event and make it a success.

If you are interested in serving on this exploratory committee, please contact Caryn Hartglass at EarthSave International, in order to be included on upcoming conference calls. You can make this happen in a big way by volunteering some of your time to move it forward. Please sign up!

Contact information:
To volunteer, contact Caryn Hartglass - phone (800) 362-3648 -- caryn@earthsave.org

 
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