I just finished saying we need to stop blaming people, individuals, for not eating better when their food environment doesn’t cooperate. Yesterday’s article in the Guardian backs me up:
Only One In 10 Americans Eat Enough Fruits And Vegetables, CDC Study Finds, The Guardian, 17 November 2017
Only 12% meet the daily fruit recommendation and 9% the vegetable recommendation, and people living in poverty have especially low rates.
Improving these rates is particularly challenging because just 2% of US farmland is devoted to growing fruits and vegetables, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Sarah Reinhardt, a nutritionist and food systems analyst at USC, said farmers would need to grow almost twice as much produce just for Americans to get the recommended amount of servings.
“The food industry is not exactly working with public health on this, there’s a multimillion-dollar industry working to get people to eat [processed foods],” Reinhardt said.
I have been saying this for years. I won’t stop saying it. If fruits and vegetables are not sold in your local grocer, or you cannot afford them, or you have no way of getting them home, or you have nowhere to store them, or you don’t cook anymore because of mental or physical limitations, then you won’t be eating many fruits and vegetables. We have to change the food landscape. People who blame individuals are just being elitist.
My idea … Instead of telling people they need to cook more, at home, from fresh ingredients (which for most people isn’t going to happen) we should make fast food healthier. Do you think if I opened a kiosk at the mall that sold steamed rice & veg, black bean burritos, minestrone soup with crusty bread, curried lentils with rice or quinoa, baked potatoes with veggie fillings, all vegan and low-fat … that it would sell? I bet it would. If you make it easy and cheap it would.