Is food the next healthcare frontier?
Obesity is no doubt one of the biggest problems facing the world’s population. Most parents have had to deal with this problem either directly or indirectly. For some, the obesity problem confronts them directly owing to the fact they suffer from the problem themselves. For others, they have to deal with this problem through their children. While there have been various solutions by different companies to try and provide some remedy, very little progress has been achieved towards that end. It therefore leaves us with only one option; better food.
Better food is the best and probably the only solution to the obesity problem. Individuals who want to deal with the problem will win this war only when they start investing in the consumption of better foods. Still, companies that seek to make a killing out of the problem will only achieve this through introduction of better eating habits going forward. In the U.S alone, the expenditure on healthcare and other related costs average about $2.9 trillion while an average of $1.4 trillion is spent on food. This expenditure on food is the second largest annual expenditure affecting our health after healthcare costs. It therefore follows that if we are to achieve any meaningful progress as far as our health is concerned, it would pay to focus our energies on proper food and decent eating habits in order to save on overall healthcare costs.
In the coming years, we need to start seeing innovative ideas from players in the healthcare industry that give a healthy combination of foods that will not only improve the general health of the populace but will also have a significant impact on the cost of healthcare. Below are some of the trends that are already in the market and which may jump start this new frontier.
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Sustainable food growing methods that contribute to the availability of fresh foods in and around the city.
The best example of these food growing methods is hydroponics and aquaponics. The best part about this is that both of these methods require very little water to grow food. In addition to that, the food does not even need to grow on soil, which means that food can actually be planted anywhere. Food can then be grown in places that are closer to the direct market where it is actually needed. By growing food closer to its demand destination, the cost of food will significantly be reduced which makes it more affordable to the masses.
From the farm to the table.
This is another aspect that seeks to reduce the cost of food by eliminating the huge and vast network of food distributors that are notorious in making food more expensive. Most consumers have thus been making direct contact to the farmers and through various e-commerce platforms that allow consumers to order food directly from the farms.
Home cooking has been revolutionized
It has now become much easier for people to cook and eat at home thanks to the sprouting of home delivery companies that have been on the rise. Companies such as Plated and Blue Apron have specialized in offering consumers cooking kits that require less effort and time to put up a full course meal. In addition to that, the million plus recipe aggregators have come up with various recipes that allow consumers to add on to what they already have and prepare healthier foods.
Revolutionizing eating out
Going forward, the experience of eating out will never be the same again because consumers can now determine and filter the restaurants that offer different types of recipes. Consumers with preferences in gluten-free diets and other special diets such paleo and diabetic preferences will now be able to single out which restaurants and eat outs to visit at the comfort of their houses. Additionally, even more revolutionizing is the ability of consumers to get the calorie count of each food menu from apps such as Calorie King. With all this information at their fingertips, consumers have the power to determine the type and quality of food they are eating and how this will affect their health in the long run.
Food prescription needs to change
Healthy diets can prevent several chronic diseases which can save very many people the agony of going through the treatment process. While it is unconventional to expect doctors to prescribe food the way they do prescription drugs, this habit needs to change. While it is easy for doctors to just suggest a diet change for the patient due to the condition they are suffering from, it would be prudent for doctors to actually give the diet plan that a patient should follow in order to improve their health and live a better life.
With this approach, we will not only reduce the cost of healthcare significantly but we will also improve the overall quality of life which is a major contributor to the general well-being and prosperity of the world.