Obesity is still a prevailing crisis within our nation. According to the Center of Disease control, “About 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 6 children are obese.” Health conditions related to obesity such as Type 2 Diabetes and certain types of cancer have become primary causes of death in our country.
In an article in the LA Times, Jamie Oliver, a globally acclaimed health expert and creater of the campaign The Food Revolution expresses his concerns that the life expectancy for today’s children will be shorter than that of their parents today, “Our kids are growing up overweight and malnourished from a diet of processed foods.”
The question is, what can be done about it? For Oliver, it is not about “policy changes” as much as it is about promoting awareness. Rather than placing his faith in the government, he believes in the domino effect of public knowledge to promote long-lasting change, “Once people have a few skills and confidence, they make different choices in the grocery store. Once they make different choices in the grocery store — and on the Main Street fast-food restaurants — then companies will be forced to serve a higher quality offer. That’s when the real change happens.”
Oliver initiated Food Revolution Day, a national movement within 60 countries to motivate people to take a stand for “real food.” He advocates for change in the food provided in elementary schools in hopes of tackling the epidemic of childhood obesity. Oliver teaches children how to cook fresh food: “Kids really thrive when they’re just given some ownership over what they’re cooking.”
Oliver doesn’t think we should neglect ourselves of the occasional “indulgence,” he believes in moderation and quality food.
There are still extremely limited healthy options offered in the school systems today from grade school to college. I was fortunate enough to have a mother who packed my lunch for me everyday through elementary school, but not every child has that privilege. We cannot expect growing children to choose healthy at school rather than eating the pizza, fries, chicken nuggets, and chocolate chip cookies that all their friends are eating, at a time when they are trying to fit in. It is difficult enough for college students to find healthy options within the dorm food, how could we expect this from a child?
It was after my experience with the limited and unhealthy dorm food during my freshman year, that I became eager to cook healthy meals on my own.