The Ugly Side Of Food Consumption
It is very clear that humankind suffers today from the biggest epidemy ever seen in history – Obesity. In a study recently released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that 15% of adults in Europe and North America are overweight. The most alarming case is the United States, which close to 30% of the adult population are affected by this impairment. In total, an estimated 1,4 billion people are suffering from obesity around the world. Even countries that presumably would have healthier food consumption habits such as France and Turkey have respectively 12,9% and 16,9% of the population obese.
The situation isn’t getting any better despite the avalanche of information and products trying to raise awareness about this devastating disease. This fact was captured by another study provided by the World Health Organizations (WHO) and it shows that the worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and the trend doesn’t seem to be changing its direction. Other results found that:
- 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
- More than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight.
- Obesity is preventable.
There has been a lot of work done until now to tackle this problem, but the trend of growth in the level of obesity worldwide has proved that we haven’t changed much. Innumerous facts can be pointed out to explain our preference and consumption of unhealthy products. Firstly, our appetite for innovative products, especially the ones created artificially and/or preserved with chemicals, such as dehydrated noodles and soups, frozen pizzas and burgers and snacks. Secondly, natural food such as fruits and vegetables, cereals, meat and dairy derivates are becoming less and less consumed in their natural form because of the elevated use of fertilizers, genetically modified seeds, pesticides and vaccines, which makes food less appealing, tasteless and dangerous. Finally, prices of processed food are decreasing and becoming cheaper than eating healthier food. That is happening because producers of processed food are normally large corporations that have access to cheaper raw materials, labor and resources which enables them to have volume and spreadability of their products.
Other factors also contribute to the increase of the obesity level in the world. One of the most important is the fast rise of food prices. For the past 30 years, the world has been able to increase food, crops and livestock production twofold, but prices kept on rising and food has obviously become more expensive to us. Also, the massive amout of processed food available, which surpasses by far the amount of natural food. At last, our fast-paced way of life, which makes us have less time to search and consume food the way we want. This is all creating the perfect conditions for us to be forced to consume what is easiest to find and cheapest to buy. As a consequence, we end up consuming processed food which is full in sodium, fat and other chemical agents.
The fundamental causes and consequences of this epidemy can be exemplified by a simple equation. On one side, we have a number of people increasing the consumption of energy-dense foods that have high levels of fat, salt and sugars but are low in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients and decreasing physical activities due to the sedentary nature of work, modes of transportation, and urbanization. On the other side, we have the result of the equation, which is either the accumulation or dispersal of fat, sugar and salt on our bodies. As the worldwide population surpasses 7 billion people and the tendency to keep consuming unhealthy food while practicing less physical activities doesn’t seem to be changing, the result could be catastrophic.
The Food Expedition is simply put as a journey around the world with the objective of encouraging people to create and/or develop healthier food consumption habits. How we are going to do that is going to be presented in the next few weeks. If you want to join our journey and help us disseminate our ideals and objectives please start by liking our The Food Expedition facebook page or by following our website in the link bellow.
Stay tuned that in the next weeks we will be engaging in an exciting adventure. Collaborate with us!