I spent a few days in Washington DC last week. As you can see, it was quite rainy and cold, not at all resembling the weather that we are accustomed to here in Los Angeles.
We also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of our members of Congress to discuss a couple of important issues: hunger in Los Angeles and Iran.
In Los Angeles, one in eight people face hunger every day. That's a very sad statistic for a wealthy country like ours. As I discussed in an earlier post, this is the role of the Jewish Federation's Fed Up With Hunger campaign -- to bring attention to hunger locally and to raise funds to combat it.
As a cardiologist, I had the opportunity to give my perspective on hunger: Those who face hunger are poor and as a result eat unhealthy foods that are high in calories, fat, and sugar, and hence obesity is becoming more and more prevalent, especially amongst the poor. Obesity leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormal cholesterol, and as a result to heart disease.
Diseases like hypertension and dyslipidemia that once were thought to occur in middle age are being seen in younger and younger people. I took care of a 25 year-old man with a heart attack and have a handful of patients who are younger than me who have suffered heart attacks. I see teenagers with high blood pressure, diabetes, and dyslipidemia.
To help to combat obesity, we need to fight hunger by providing healthy options to cheap junk food.