Funding a thin land and a slow food nation.
No one in the United States can deny there is a growing problem of obesity. Even other countries such as India and China are experiencing a rise in obesity-related illness. It is obvious that it is not a rich man’s problem, either.
What can we do about it? I think there are a few simple solutions here in the United States, after having read books like Fat Land and Fast Food Nation, as well as essays from Anthony Bourdain.
1. Nutrition education. This includes instruction on how to make easy, inexpensive, and nutritious meals at home, as well as encouraging the patronage of non-chain “fast food” restaurants that may use fresher ingredients and fewer preservatives than the run-of-the-mill McDonald’s or Taco Bell provide.
2. Community gardens. A concept that can bring sustainable living to all people. The poor may not be able to afford a house with a yard, but they can grow their own food (and get some exercise while doing it)!
3. Return to funding physical education in public schools. When there are budget cuts, P.E. is often one of the first programs to go. Even if every school provided just 30 minutes of P.E. three days a week for each child, that could go a long way in helping children establish physical activity in their everyday lives.
4. Emphasizing prevention of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension as a first step with those who are considered obese or overweight; providing basic health care (including education) when someone is diagnosed with one of the diseases as a second step to prevent complications in the future.
See, I told you the solutions are simple.
But who pays for it? That’s the conundrum. There are successful programs out there, but it is clear many more people need access to those programs. If you’ve heard of or read about a success story, please comment. I will do a follow-up in a month or two with profiles of success stories.