Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

Sep12

Chase Campaign: Feeding and Educating Our Youth

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By Devon Ericksen 

This month, The Worldwatch Institute celebrates the role of youth in the creation of a just and sustainable future. Nourishing the Planet knows that we must not only teach our children about proper nutrition to ensure that they live healthy lives, but also to care about the future of sustainable agriculture. Around the world, children face problems ranging from malnutrition and lack of access to education in developing countries, to obesity and poor school lunches in developed countries.

The future of the world’s food system depends on what we teach and feed our children today (Photo Credit: Food Network)

Though the problems may differ, the solution remains the same: develop local agriculture systems with which to sustainably produce nutritious food for our children. In August, we highlighted ways that people are working to bring agriculture closer to home in our post, “From a Garden in South Africa to a Cafeteria in California: Sharing Meals and Good Ideas”. By making fresh produce more accessible, whether it is delivered from a local farm or grown in the schoolyard, organizations such as Abalimi Bezekhaya in South Africa, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers in California, and the Washington D.C. Farm to School Network are all working to feed our youth healthier food, whether they live in situations of poverty or wealth, whether they are obese or malnourished.

Just in time for school to start, we provided ideas and examples for improving school lunches in our post 15 Innovations to Make School Lunches Healthier and More Sustainable. These changes are badly needed at a time when one-third of American children are overweight or obese—a recent study found that children who eat school lunches are much more likely to be obese than children who bring lunch from home. From school gardens to healthy vending machines, change is happening across the country as people realize the importance of feeding our children healthier food.

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Aug21

The Hunger Shames: Schools Can Set Children on Lifetime Path of Healthy Eating

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Check out our latest op-ed about school meals and student health, published in The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Indiana gets a bad grade for childhood obesity and malnutrition. In 2011, 15 percent of Indiana high school students were considered obese, meaning their body mass index was at or above the 95th percentile. Fortunately, schools can play a key role to reverse this trend and reinforce healthy eating behaviors. By emphasizing hands-on nutrition education, such as school garden projects and classroom cooking demonstrations, and by providing fresh, local fruits and vegetables in cafeterias, schools can encourage students to improve their diets.

Read the full article here.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE.

Aug21

Five food guides that are combating malnourishment

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By Jenna Banning

If you are what you eat, our world is certainly unhealthy. People across the globe are not getting the nutrients that they need, resulting in high levels of both hunger and obesity. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 925 million people were undernourished in 2010. At the same time, the World Health Organization estimates that over 1 billion people are overweight, and at least 300 million obese. (Such estimates are based on Body Mass Index measurements, which compare one’s height and weight. Individuals with BMI’s over 25 are considered overweight, and over 30 are obese).

Eating a healthy, balanced diet can prevent obesity and malnutrition (Photo Credit: Carol Lee)

In order to tackle this issue, food pyramids and other guides have been used by organizations and governments to suggest better nutrition for the needs of their populations for many years. Today, Nourishing the Planet shares visual food guides from five countries (and one organization) being used across the world.

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Aug15

New Evidence Shows That School Food Policy Matters When It Comes to Kids’ Health

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By Ioulia Fenton

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. According to the 2011 F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens Americas’ Future report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Trust for America’s Health, nearly one-third of all American kids ages 10 to 17 are either obese or overweight. This puts them at risk of more than 20 major diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Typical competitive foods available in schools include highly processed snacks and drinks (Photo Credit: Health.com)

One proposed way of dealing with this phenomenon is through state and national level legislation to regulate the type of foods available at schools. This is done in two ways. The first is to set nutritional standards for school meals provided free of charge or at reduced prices by the government. The other is to also set standards for and limit the availability of competitive foods—foods sold outside of federal meal programs, such as snacks and soft drinks.

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Aug13

Making School Food Healthier in Buffalo, NY

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The Buffalo News has published an op-ed co-written by Nourishing the Planet director Danielle Nierenberg and communications associate Sophie Wenzlau.

The article focuses on innovative school lunch and nutrition programs in Buffalo, New York. Childhood obesity rates in the county are higher than average—15-20 percent of children aged 2 to 4 are obese, compared to a statewide rate of 10-15 percent—but a growing commitment to fresh, nutritious, and local foods, as part of the national Farm to School movement, is making kids healthier. As childhood obesity and malnutrition affect more and more of our nation’s children, communities and schools play an increasingly important role in setting healthy eating habits and lifestyles.

Click here to read the full article.

Jul19

Can Trade Policy Really Impact Public Health? An Obesity Case Study from Mexico

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By Ioulia Fenton

Many businesses, media, and policymakers often attribute obesity to poor individual consumption decisions. But a new report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) points to another potential culprit: trade liberalization.

IATP argues that trade liberalization has contributed to high obesity rates in Mexico. (Photo credit: Ilhuicamina, Flickr.com)

Trade liberalization is the removal of government policies that control foreign trade. These include direct policy tools, such as taxes on imports and exports and set quotas for imports of certain products. They also include indirect tools that distort trade, including domestic subsidies and high quality standards.

The IATP study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, investigated the links between the health of the Mexican population and the country’s trade with the United States. Mexico is fast becoming the fattest nation on earth—its rates of obesity and overweight have tripled since the 1980s and now stand at almost 70 percent, according to an analysis of the latest Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey by Dr. Simón Barquera and his team of Mexican researchers.

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Jun26

Children’s Health: Aviva Must Advocates Shared Responsibility

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By Carly Chaapel

On Thursday, June 28, the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition will release Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet in New York City. Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights a contributing author of Eating Planet, and shares his views on how to fix the broken food system. Tune in on the 28th via livestream: we will be taking questions in real time from the audience, from the livestream, and from Twitter and Facebook.

Must calls for shared responsibility for children’s health. (Photo credit: Barilla CFN)

Aviva Must, professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, has conducted extensive research on the effects of obesity on adolescents and pregnant women. In the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s new book, Eating Planet–Nutrition today: A challenge for Mankind and for the Planet, she describes the importance of shared responsibility, obesity prevention, and commitment from the agrifood industry for children’s health. Healthful eating habits, she believes, should be encouraged by not only parents, but also schools and health care providers. Action now to promote healthy lifestyles in the youngest children will help alleviate childhood obesity and serious health problems in the future.

Parents are the first people to take responsibility for their children’s health. They control the at-home food selection and dining rules, as well as encourage kids to engage in organized sports and free play. Must describes how “it is useful to think about child feeding as a shared responsibility, with parents responsible for serving food that is healthy and appetizing and children responsible for how much of it is eaten.”

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Jun19

Eating Planet: An Interview with Marion Nestle

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On Thursday, June 28, the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition will release Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet in New York City. Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights a contributing author of Eating Planet, and shares his views on how to fix the broken food system. The event is full but please tune in on the 28th via livestream: we will be taking questions in real time from the audience, from the livestream, and from Twitter and Facebook.

Marion Nestle discusses the power of food marketing in our society. (Photo credit: Food Politics)

In the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s new book, Eating PlanetNutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet, nutritionist and New York University professor Marion Nestle was interviewed for the section “Food for Health,” which explores the relationship between nutrition and health. Nestle’s central argument is the important role of prevention as a way for improving health and wellness. Nestle discusses different types of prevention policies, the challenges of changing personal behavior, and governmental actions that need to be taken in order to achieve public health goals.

Preventative policy

Nestle explains that there are two ways in which policy can prevent health issues: through changing the food environment or through changing personal behavior.

According to Nestle, policymakers need to think of preventative policies and messages that creatively aim to prevent illness or harm. “The message has to be ‘eat less’ or ‘eat this instead of that.’ And nobody wants to put the food industry out of business,” said Nestle. “We just want companies to behave better, make healthier products and stop marketing junk food as healthy or targeting children.”

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Jun14

Eating Planet: An Interview with Ellen Gustafson

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By Marlena White

On Thursday, June 28, the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition will release Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet in New York City. Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights a contributing author of Eating Planet, and shares his views on how to fix the broken food system. If you live in NYC, you can register to attend for FREE by clicking HERE, or tune in on the 28th via livestream. We will be taking questions in real time from the audience, from the livestream, and from Twitter and Facebook.

Gustafson discusses the twin burdens of global hunger and obesity. (Photo credit: www.TED.com)

Ellen Gustafson is a social entrepreneur working for food system change to address issues like global hunger and obesity. She co-founded FEED Projects in 2007, which created a popular line of bags sold in department stores whose overall price includes a set-aside donation to the United Nations World Food Program to fund school lunch programs. In 2010, Gustafson launched The 30 Project in an effort to bring together key stakeholders to chart a healthier and more sustainable path for the food system. In an interview for the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s new book, Eating Planet: Nutrition Today—A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet, Gustafson discusses how global hunger and the obesity epidemic are two symptoms of the broken global food system, and how consumers have the power to change things for the better.

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Jun11

Food for All: How to Respond to Market Excesses

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On Thursday, June 28, the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition will release Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet in New York City. Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights a contributing author of Eating Planet, and shares his or her views on how to fix the broken food system. If you live in NYC, you can register to attend for FREE by clicking HERE, or tune in on the 28th via livestream. We will be taking questions in real time from the audience, from the livestream, and from Twitter and Facebook.

Raj Patel argues that climate change, financial speculation, and other factors have disrupted the food system. (Photo Credit: Rajpatel.org)

In his introduction to a chapter in the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s new book, Eating PlanetNutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet, award-winning writer, activist, and academic Raj Patel describes five reasons for the multiple failures of today’s modern food system and suggests important policy responses.

More than 1.5 billion people worldwide are overweight and another 1 billion are hungry. Both problems are signs that while the current food system has worked to produce calories and profit, it has failed to nourish the world. According to Patel, there are five reasons why the food system has come up short:

1. Climate Change. Global weather has been unpredictable, with storms, floods, and droughts occurring with greater intensity and frequency than in the past. These weather patterns have reduced global wheat harvests by 5 percent over the past 30 years.

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