It's a shame we don't eat well, but it's also our fault.
If we all ate well, that would be the best way to improve our health and build happy communities. Imagine how much happier we would be if we ate good food.
The problem is that we don't eat good food. We eat too much sugar, salt, starch and fat. We eat food that is poor quality or has been processed or treated in some way.
We make the choices about what we eat, and we're responsible for the consequences. Partly because of our choices, we have an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Our unhealthy eating is not just a personal problem. It's a public health problem. It's also a huge economic problem, and it's a problem for our communities.
The costs of obesity and poor health are enormous, and they're growing. We're spending billions of dollars treating diseases that are preventable.
Some of the symptoms of poor health are obvious: weight gain, high blood pressure, excess fat around the waist and metabolic syndrome. But the long-term effects of poor nutrition are more serious, including increased risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, dementia and premature death.
Our poor health is having a big impact on the economy. Businesses have to cope with the costs of poor health among their employees. They're also paying for the health costs of their customers.
The costs are concentrated in our big cities. Auckland and Wellington, with their higher incomes, have higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
We're also unhealthy as a community. We're not as fit or as happy as we could be, so we're less productive. Our social capital is eroded.