There is a certain paradox across the planet in terms of food. While some people starve to death, others die from obesity. Obesity has never been a global health problem as it is today.
The vast majority of civilization had to learn how to hunt, gather and cultivate the land to survive. This education was an ability to develop to survive. Those who knew better how to find their food had a greater chance of survival.
Today, with the rise of obesity, there is a paradox. Many people in the North American society (and around the globe) risk to die from being overweight and not from starvation. These people trying to lose weight face many failures. In general, weight loss is a major challenge for the majority of obese people. Many people even use the help of weight loss programs.
We are in a society that must learn the nutritional value of food more than ever. Most people do not even know what they eat. Ask people to describe the impact on their health of the ingredients listed on a packaging. There are a lot of weird and unknown names. In addition, the packaging indicates the nutritional value on a label. The people I asked did not really know how to read this label. Because of the junk food’s problem, this is one of the most important information. Knowing how to read the label properly can tell you if you eat too much salt, sugar or fat (and even the type of fat). This represents three categories of ingredients among the most problematic in our society. Unfortunately, this information does not seem very useful for many people because of the lack of food education.
The food paradox
The situations above may seem paradoxical. However, the aspect of food education is always related to the fact that a person must learn how to eat to survive.
While a person who lives in a poor area will struggle to find his food, another will struggle to lose weight.
In the first case, the person must develop hunter or farmer’s skills to survive. In the other case, the person must learn the nutritional value of food, how to control his meal portion and stay active to avoid gaining too much weight to survive.
Whatever the situation, those who have a food education tailored to their situation have a better chance of survival and usually a better life quality.
We must also understand that the human being has experienced periods of starvation as animals. The people best suited for weight gain had better chances of survival during starvation. In our societies of abundance and junk food, this characteristic of survival has become a weakness for some people.
Why do we have this situation and what should we do?
There is not an ultimate solution that will solve all the problems of obesity. Some people will tell you that there is an emotional factor related to obesity. The problem of obesity is relatively complex.
Concerning the budget on advertising, health foods do not even represent 1% of the budget invested in junk food from the private industry. Most of the food education is done by the private industry. I do not even remember having had nutrition lessons in school.
One of the biggest expenses of the governments is the health system. Yet governments do little to change the situation. There are, however, a great need for the population to eat better. The government is not visionary and political parties are funded by the private sector. That may explain the inaction of the government in the health sector. It may also explain why health is one of the largest tax burdens of the government.
In this world of industrially processed food, a part of the solution comes from food education and it is at school that we could start to give people the tools. However, another part of the solution is prevention, which must be implemented by the government.