The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) is proud to have worked again with Food Day to promote healthy eating. As the nation’s largest, independent organization of physicians-in-training, we recognize that the obesity epidemic is a major health care problem that requires drastic measures to combat.
With two-thirds of Americans either overweight or obese, diet-related diseases are a key community health issue. We began our partnership with Food Day last year to reduce these rates, and we are excited that our involvement in Food Day this year expanded tremendously. Through the work of our KNObesity Steering Committee (you have to KNow Obesity!), our expansive network of chapters reached out to local schools to educate our nation’s youth on the harmful effects of sugary beverages.
Why is our focus on sugary beverages? Sugary beverages are the number one contributor to calories in the American diet and have been directly linked to obesity. In addition, sugary beverages are a known contributor to diet-related diseases, like coronary heart disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes. Such harmful health effects are not limited to adults; in children, each extra soft drink consumed per day increases the risk of being overweight by 60%. To reduce these risks, our chapters will spend time engaging students in their classes and after-school programs to make healthier lifestyle choices.
We had over 20 AMSA chapters across the country plan Food Day events in their communities. However, our community outreach and education does not end with Food Day. We understand that diet-related habits are hard to change and require a long-term commitment. Therefore, as a steering committee, we are working hard to educate and empower our communities to take control of their health. To stay updated on our efforts, follow us on our webpage.
Dr. Drew Lee is a recent graduate from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and is currently serving as AMSA’s Health Equity Fellow.
Raymond Chou is a recent graduate of Cornell University and a member of AMSA's KNObesity Steering Committee.