By Ali Schklair, Linda Golodner Food Safety & Nutrition Fellow
It isn’t news that obesity is an urgent problem in our country. According to a recent study by the CDC, over one third of US adults are obese. Education and health professionals have presented numerous strategies to combat this growing epidemic. Still, in order to enact real change, there needs to be a greater focus on how overweight and obesity affects specific populations.
Monday, the president released his budget and with it, a proposal to create one single federal agency focused on food safety. The proposal came days after Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced bills to create an independent federal food safety agency. Both the budget and this legislation seek to reallocate food safety inspections, labeling, and enforcement into a single agency cutting government costs and overlap.
A new year is upon us and once again the time has come for New Year’s Resolutions. Making goals can be a rewarding or loathsome experience based on your ability to achieve them. By making extreme resolutions you could be setting yourself up for failure. It might not be feasible to exercise every day or never eat another cookie. Instead try making small changes and staying committed to those changes. By devoting yourself to something that doesn’t seem like that big of a change for a whole year, you can make a huge difference in your health.
Many of us take for granted the ability to make trips to a full size grocery store. For 23.5 million Americans, accessing a full-size supermarket is a challenge. In some areas, small corner stores are often the only source of food for underserved communities. They act as the main source of groceries, which can be problematic, considering many corner stores stock mainly processed foods that are high in calories, fat, and salt.
Did you know fish accounts for 17 percent of the world’s protein intake? That may not seem like a lot, but by 2050, farmed fish production is expected to more than double to meet global demands. Fish are the most environmentally-friendly animal protein to produce, efficiently converting feed into meat while generating a fraction of the greenhouse gasses of livestock production. But as it stands now, our earth’s rivers, lakes, and oceans are fished to their limits.
When you think of controversial policies, school lunch isn’t the first thing that should come to mind. As a nation fighting a childhood obesity epidemic, school lunches play an important role in getting us back on track. Schools provide one, and sometimes two, of the three meals kids eat each day, packing the biggest punch for kids who depend on these meals for nourishment. How can we justify serving anything but wholesome, nutritious food when that is the case?
March kicks off National Nutrition Month – a good time for us to reflect on our diets and physical activity. We all know the importance –and the challenges — of maintaining a healthy weight. A third of Americans are obese and another third are overweight. That means that two thirds of Americans are at increased risk for certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and other life threatening illnesses that accompany excessive poundage.
It’s unseasonably warm this week, and I’ve found myself longing to populate my deck with plants despite the cold that may lie ahead. Growing up, my parents spent summer weekends landscaping and planting, and I feel a deep satisfaction in caring for plants. We never had a successful garden exactly, maybe some tomatoes or herbs in pots -- but there was something beautiful and amazing about creating something sustaining and useful from tiny seeds.
Food is a cornerstone of love. Think of all the ways we use food to bond: cooking for loved ones, eating together as a means to share conversation, gifting food. I grew up in a family for whom food was a form of love, and while this might not be every person’s experience, I think we can all understand the association. This Valentine’s Day, couples will flock to restaurants, cookies will be baked for families, and young valentines will exchange candy at school.
Few agricultural issues are as controversial and complex as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Tinkering with the genetics of food is bound to set off red flags for many, especially those who are concerned about environmental issues. It’s important, however, to consider many aspects: economics, health, policy, environment, regulation, and labeling are a handful of the most important aspects to consider when weighing GMO pros and cons.