Last weekend, while walking down 14th Street Northwest in Washington, DC, I was fascinated by the international flavors that surrounded me. On the left: French, Japanese, Thai and Ghanan restaurants. On the right: American fried chicken, Salvadoran, Mexican, Italian and Ethiopian restaurants. The options are as diverse as DC’s population itself. They are also a reflection of migration flow in an increasingly globalized world.
Having a diverse array of food options is great for the picky consumer, but how is culture impacting what we eat at home week-in and week-out? Recently, a viral photo essay depicting what families around the world eat in a week circulated the internet. The photos, from journalist Peter Menzel, shed light on the important question of culture’s impact on our nutrition. It’s eye-opening to see how frequently Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s products from the United States find their way onto tables across the world. It’s also easy to see the lesson American families can learn from Guatemalan and Pakistani families on fresh fruit and vegetable intake.
The bigger question is this: What can be done globally in an age of unhealthy eating and increasing obesity? The Economist pointed out, importantly, that the percentage of the world’s population that is obese has doubled since 1980.
The authors further state that more people in developing countries are overweight than underweight. In addition to widely-known risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer that are associated with poor nutrition and obesity, the economic costs are staggering–over $100 billion per year in the United States alone.
In just over a month, the International Congress of Nutrition (ICN) will kick off in Granada, Spain. There, dozens of researchers will present their most recent findings to nutritionists, dietitians and public health policy experts from around the globe. During the congress, the presenters will attempt to shed light on these questions and more. All aspects of nutrition will be covered, from maternal and youth nutrition to the latest in food technology and policy.
GLOBALHealthPR partner Berbés Asociados is supporting coverage of this important event. GLOBALHealthPR is proud to support this year’s congress as it joins cultures through nutrition.