The Los Angeles Times convenes a panel of health experts to talk about the future: one year out, and what may be in store for us in five years.

The experts stress the importance of larger social themes in relation to human health, such as the connection between poverty and health outcomes. One expert suggests raising the minimum wage and campaign reform. Others discuss specific “lifestyle medicine” possibilities, including the potential of gut bacteria; one predicts lifestyle medicine will become a global movement. There will be a continued focus on the role of sugar in chronic disease. Hopeful: the consensus around the notion that chronic disease can be greatly reduced through lifestyle changes, and that people will be empowered to turn knowledge into “routine action.” One expert predicts that insurance companies will also be on board more strongly with the idea of “prevention.”

Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UC San Francisco, talks a little about the new Dietary Guidelines, which will be issued by the USDA later this year.

“People at the USDA are making phone calls to nutritionists, saying, “Is this low-carb fad real or full of rubbish?” The fact that they’re asking means that they’re backing away from their long-held views, which were never based in science but rather in politics. This will set a new nutritional directive into motion, which won’t affect health next year but will shortly thereafter.”


Dr. Marion Nestle, nutrition professor, author and activist, highlights the need to decrease economic and educational disparities:

“The healthiest folks in our society are those with money and education. So anything we can do to improve the economics and education of our low-income citizens will help a lot. I’m hoping for policies that will raise minimum wages for everyone but especially for farmworkers and restaurant workers so they can afford to take better care of themselves. This will make the rest of us healthier as well.”

If you read one article today, this is it.