It was standing room only here today as integrative medicine guru and author Dr. Andrew Weil delivered one of the expo's keynote addresses on the sorry state of American healthcare. What's that got to do with a food show? Well, a lot if the food on display makes health claims, as all of them do here. Weil began by pointing out that there are two root causes to the problems plaguing our current healthcare system. One is that we're spending everything on intervention and nothing on prevention; the second is the emphasis - to the exclusion of almost everything else - on technology (and this includes pharmaceuticals) to treat health conditions.
"We spend more per capita on healthcare in this country but have less to show for it," he said to applause.
As one of the nation's leading proponents of integrative medicine (which includes practices many Western doctors would find completely foreign, like yoga, meditiation and practical nutrition), Weil noted success stories helping to change our perception of healthcare. Take laughter yoga, for instance, or simple breathing exercises which reduce stress and therefore, inflammation.
Above all, Weil is a big promoter of "selfcare," which emphasizes personal responsibility and self education. It means learning how to eat properly, exercise, rest well and to supplement our diets wisely. That's the message the food industry needs to hear loud and clear. For manufacturers, it means making ethical, healthful products. For retailers, it means helping consumers get the information they need to maintain optimum health, and then offering the products and services that get them there.