Obesity and Hunger: Solutions in Improved Farming
In America, obesity has become a major issue. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Department, more than one third of United States adults are obese and as of 2012, more than a quarter of American children are obese. Alongside the U.S., obesity has become a major issue abroad in countries such as China.
Obesity leads to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Obesity increases the medical cost for individuals by more than $1,400 per year and government spending on healthcare costs by $147 billion. Obesity also decreases the productivity of individuals, which with all of these combined demonstrate its negative effect on the economy. As obesity is a highly emphasized global concern, much of that sentiment can be equally shared to its counter: the issue of hunger.
Even though it might seem that obesity and hunger are entirely different issues, they resurrect from the same origin – a nutritional system. Understanding the causes of these two issues will further establish the significance to this underlying connection. Take, for instance that while the cause of obesity is an excessive consumption of unhealthy food and lack of exercise, the cause of hunger is a lack of food or conduct to establish a healthy diet. For both, the root of the problem is the farming industry.
Most of the food supply comes from developing countries. If the farmers do not have access to good farming equipment and farming technology, they will be more likely to use toxic farming chemicals on their land and cattle. In result, the produced food contains several unsafe chemicals that contribute to the potential causes of obesity.
In a TED talk, Ellen Gustafson suggested the solution to both of these problems is to increase the funding for farming industries and feed the hungry children in developing countries. By increasing the fund for farming, farmers can have access to better farming technology to enable producing healthier food for their home countries and exporting countries. Additionally, more healthful diets help children in poverty countries grow up with both a healthy physicality and mental ability.
On a further note, hunger is a primary reason that children in poverty countries cannot go to school. Improving the ethics in the farming industry and food supply to laborers, children in poverty can go to school, get educated, earn a better income and acquire a better livelihood while also contributing back to their society.
– Phong Pham
Sources: Ted Talks, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obesity Society