The word hunger calls to mind thin starving children. But in America today the real picture of undernutrition is different. In some cases, obese children are malnourished because they are consuming the wrong types of food – foods that are dense in calories, but nutritionally poor.

National Nutrition Month – the annual March campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to encourage healthier eating – reminds all of us of obesity’s many long-term effects for children and adults as they suffer the physical and economic impacts of its related illnesses.

Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and health care costs in the country. Estimates range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.

Because addressing obesity is key to building strong, healthy and sustainable communities, hospitals and health systems across America are working with other community partners on a wide range of programs and services that encourage healthier, more nutritious eating and a more active lifestyle for the people they serve. 

Reducing obesity, improving nutrition and increasing activity can help lower costs through fewer doctor’s visits, tests, prescription drugs, sick days, emergency department visits and admissions to the hospital and lower the risk for a wide range of diseases. That is why every day is part of National Nutrition Month for America’s hospitals. 

By working together to find simple solutions for healthier living and eating, our hospitals and our communities can improve health outcomes and raise the quality of life for all.