Guarding Human Health: At a time when environmental pollution and noncommunicable diseases like obesity are on the rise.

In our modern era, numerous environmental factors are affecting our health and longevity such as, food contaminated with all kinds of xenobiotic chemicals, environmental pollution, loss of biodiversity, agricultural and food system, type of nutrition, as well as rise of various non-communicable diseases. Diseases like cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, type-2 diabetes, and cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer's, and in particular the current obesity crisis. Never in the history of humankind has obesity increased with such an unprecedented and alarming rate (only in the last several decades), not only in the United States, but around the globe. The current obesity pandemic is a human health tragedy. Its negative effects result in loss of productivity, a tremendous strain on our healthcare system that is not sustainable, and loss of human life. Today's children may be the first generation to not outlive their parents. Many believe that obesity is the result of purely personal choices and personal responsibility, and thus the advice has been to "eat less, move more", or to "take less calories" and avoid "poor lifestyle choices". None of these pieces of advice take into consideration the overwhelming effect of various environmental factors as well as societal influences on our health, many outside of our individual control. Currently, our food is extremely contaminated with xenobiotics, the air we breathe, the soil that we cultivate for food, and the groundwater is heavily polluted. Basically, almost no place on earth remains pristine. The current situation threatens human and ecosystem health in many regions around the globe. At this juncture, humans need to wise up quickly to prevent any catastrophic consequences.

by Abbas Kadkhodayan, Ph.D.

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