By Elizabeth Willoughby on
Every 18 minutes, four Americans die from obesity. Chef Jamie Oliver believes that “food binds us to the best bits of life,” and is introducing healthy food to children to stop the obesity trend.
In a fiery speech he gave at this month’s TED conference, Oliver presented some startling statistics, such as American children will live ten fewer years than their parents because of the landscape of junk food that they grow up in. While people spend their lives worrying about death, murder and safety, he says diet related diseases are the biggest killer in the United States today.
Part of the problem is that America is into its third generation that has not been taught at school or at home how or what to cook. A film clip showed children in elementary school that could not correctly identify a tomato, cauliflower, beet, eggplant or potato.
Another problem is that the system for supplying children at school with food is not run by food experts, but rather by accountants with shrinking budgets. School food is highly processed and rarely fresh, but it’s cheap. French fries are considered a vegetable. Pizza is served for breakfast. Despite that scissors are used in classrooms, cutlery is removed from cafeterias for safety reasons
“That is a state wide endorsement of fast food,” says Oliver, “because it is hand held. Thirty years ago food was largely local and largely fresh. Now it’s largely processed and full of all sorts of additives and added ingredients.” There is as much sugar added to milk as to a can of pop, he says, in an unnecessary effort to get kids to drink it.
“Any judge in the whole world would look at the statistics in the evidence and they would find any government of old guilty of child abuse. That’s my belief.”
The good news is that obesity is a preventable disease, and Oliver offers educational solutions in the form of supermarket ambassadors and school curriculum, and business practice solutions within corporations and in support for America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama's efforts.
“My wish,” Oliver told the TED audience, “is for you to help a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, to inspire families to cook again, and to empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”
Copyright © 2010 Look to the Stars