This week I want to talk about food waste. I recently read a book called Greenwashed, which, while the author had no problem with CSAs, local or organic, her primary concern was food waste. (Of course according to stereotypes if you're fat no food goes to waste.) April Herndon of Psychology Today criticizes Let's Move for the same reasons I have. We need to encourage healthy eating and movement for all children (not just fat ones) and have access to food.
Given that we can all probably agree that children deserve access to a variety of foods and the ability to play and be active, why the focus on obesity? Because obesity has become a convenient means of motivating people to care about issues like nutritious food and safe neighborhoods and playgrounds for children who are members of marginalized groups, groups that mainstream America may not care about otherwise.
Let's say in 30 years Let's Move had increased fitness and access to nutritious food but we still have fatties. The program will be a failure. Exactly as 1994 version of "Let's Move" Called "Shape Up America" which is almost 20 years old and yes, there are still fatties.
Two recent studies have shown that Food deserts may be a myth.
But two new studies have found something unexpected. Such neighborhoods not only have more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than more affluent ones, but more grocery stores, supermarkets and full-service restaurants, too. And there is no relationship between the type of food being sold in a neighborhood and obesity among its children and adolescents.
What does this have to do with food waste? I have also mentioned before that starvation kills more people than obesity ever will. The United States has high rates of food insecurity (i.e. we aren't starving to death but we aren't getting enough food). Many of the states with high food insecurity also have high rates of fatness. Most of those who have dieted know you lose weight then gain it all back plus more. (I'm fairly certain I weight about 50 lbs more than I should because of dieting.) Could it be possibly that people in food insecure households are technically suffering from the dieting/binge cycle? We also waste food, up to 30% in the USA and up to 50% worldwide which is a travesty.
We again view fatness in simplistic terms. No matter what, fat is always going to be labeled as eating too much, that's it end of story. No one looks at other issues, for example food insecurity, and say other things such as poor medical care or how about pollution? Poor neighborhoods often find themselves near pollution sources. Parts of the Bronx have high asthma rates because they are near expressways. There are now links between pollution and diabetes AND air pollution and fatness. (Oh and Diabetes and stress as well.) We don't really look at medical care, food insecurity and pollution because these are complex situations that require actually hard work. It isn't easy compared to telling the nation to stop being so fat.