A panel of experts at the Milken Institute Global Conference 2006 described the poor health of many Americans, in a discussion entitled “Nutrition and Health – Separating Fact from Fiction.”

A Los Angeles pediatrian reported that children are now contracting adult diseases (such as adult onset diabetes) because they are obese. Americans eat an abundance of high fat, processed foods. We tend to eat quickly while “multi-tasking” and have no concept of what or how much we eat.

We tend to eat large portions. The pediatrition described how children have no sense of appropriate proportions: given a large bowl and instructed to pour a serving of cereal into the bowl, children fill the bowl to the brim – no matter how large the bowl.

A report by Faster Cures, entitled Nutrition: The Path to Better Health, reports that “four of the country’s 10 leading causes of death are directly related to poor nutrition.”

Chronic illness is the leading cost driver for health insurance premiums. Diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses are directly related to being overweight.

So, when someone criticizes the US health care and health insurance system by stating that we spend more money per person in the United States on health insurance (about 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)) yet people die sooner and are sicker in the United States than in other countries, they are confusing cause and effect. People are largely unhealthy in the US because of what, how and how much they eat. Our health care system is doing all that it can to treat this unhealthy life style.