I joined the wellness committee at the counseling center where I worked. We talked about how to increase our health habits and those of our co-workers. We organized lunch hour walking parties, got group discounts at a health club and decided to have a potluck luncheon in order to share our healthy recipes and sample the food. My co-workers talked about recipes that are low in fat, low in salt and sugarless. Often this meant artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes were part of their recipes. No one said anything about avoiding processed foods or eating less meat. No one said anything about eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains or organic and locally grown foods. It was at this very moment that I realized I was from a different planet. The planet I come from calls for a much different diet. The planet that I’m from has poor and affluent people alike who are obese. While in some parts of the world people are starving. Race, class, and gender influence health outcomes. What we eat is influenced by outside factors and I see people getting further away from the source of all food, the earth. Food is one common denominator in health disparities. On my planet there are disparities in access to healthy foods. Part of the solution is related to broadening awareness. Coming up with solutions means coming up with new definitions about what is healthy food, and redefining our roles as health care practitioners/world citizens. Could it be that there is a diet that is not only good for you, but good for your global neighbors and the earth?
|Keywords:||Diet, Health Disparities, Food Access, Global Health|
Assistant Professor/Undergraduate Program Director, School of Social Work, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA