(HOST) This month, Food Day will be observed across the country, and among those celebrating will be commentator Ron Krupp.
(KRUPP) On October 24th , Food Day will bring together parents, teachers, students, politicians, health professionals, school lunch providers and chefs to push for local, healthy, affordable foods produced in a sustainable, humane way.
We could prevent about 80 percent of heart disease, 90 percent of diabetes, and 70 percent of strokes with the right food choices and physical activity, and by not smoking, according to Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health. Our current food system is serving up epidemic-levels of obesity and cardiovascular disease.
We’ve heard the recommendations before. Eat fewer sweets, refined grains, salt, and red meat; and drink fewer sugary beverages. The American diet is largely composed of processed food that contributes to poor health outcomes with little nutritional value. The right food choices are simple. We need to eat more vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains, accompanied by fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, and local grass-fed beef. But that’s easier said than done – especially for poor people who have few resources.
Even though all classes of people are overweight, it’s clear that hunger, poverty and obesity go hand in hand. The latest census figures show that poverty has reached the highest level since 1993. Fifteen percent of the population are below the poverty level – along with one quarter of children. Many people are not secure in knowing where their next meal will come from. That’s a lot of hungry kids.
Food Day events are planned at the University of Vermont and other campuses and communities throughout the nation. One of the UVM panels will be discussing the future of Coca Cola on campus. In Seattle, 100 public schools will observe Food Day with a special, healthy menu of local food.
On a personal level, I found out I had Type 2 diabetes five years ago. My father had Type 1. I knew I had to make changes in how I live – like getting more exercise and developing healthier eating habits. I’ve never smoked. I grow a lot of food at the Tommy Thompson Community Garden in the Intervale and freeze and can vegetables. The key was to eat fewer sweets, processed carbs and fats – in order to feel better and lower my blood sugar. The key was to walk the outer aisles of the supermarket filled with fruits, vegetables, dairy, fish and meat – not the inner ones filled with processed food. The key was not to go on a diet but to change my food lifestyle over a period of time. So I’ll be among those celebrating Food Day on October 24 th, and I’ll continue to do so the rest of my life.