At Food Matters Live, I will be talking in a Seminar panel on the subject of: Increased Fresh Produce consumption. The answer to the obesity crisis?
With ongoing childhood obesity and health issues globally, combined with more food businesses looking to sell high margin sugary drinks and snack products to an ever younger audience, we have an escalating problem on our hands.
Today nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese in the UK alone. 6 out of 10 children don’t know where fresh produce comes from and 50% of all teenagers never have any form of fresh produce on a daily basis. Younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer.
Reducing obesity levels will save lives as obesity doubles the risk of dying prematurely. Obese adults are seven times more likely to become a type 2 diabetic than adults of a healthy weight which may cause blindness or limb amputation. And not only are obese people more likely to get physical health conditions like heart disease, they are also more likely to be living with conditions like depression.
The economic costs are great, too. We spend more each year on the treatment of obesity and diabetes than we do on the police, fire service and judicial system combined. It was estimated that the NHS in England spent £5.1 billion on overweight and obesity-related ill-health in 2014/15.
The burden is falling hardest on those children from low-income backgrounds. Obesity rates are highest for children from the most deprived areas and this is getting worse. Children aged 5 and from the poorest income groups are twice as likely to be obese compared to their most well off counterparts and by age 11 they are three times as likely.
Obesity is a complex problem with many drivers, including our behaviour, environment, genetics and culture. However, at its root obesity is caused by an energy imbalance: taking in more energy through food than we use through activity. Physical activity is associated with numerous health benefits for children, such as muscle and bone strength, health and fitness, improved quality of sleep and maintenance of a healthy weight. There is also evidence that physical activity and participating in organised sports and after school clubs is linked to improved academic performance.
But, the international fresh produce sector believes that the main answer to the obesity crisis is straight forward – eat more fantastic fresh produce!
Come to the Seminar debate on Thursday 23rd Nov from 11.30 until 13.00 to hear industry leaders from the international fresh produce sectors discuss and debate how the fresh sector can create that healthy eating revolution for this generation and the next.
Chaired by Max MacGillivray – Founder of “The Great Fruit and Veg Adventure” – The inspiring initiative to educate kids, their families and schools as to where amazing fresh produce comes from and why it is so good for us all.
Seminar Panel to Include:
• Peter Thomas – MD of Prescott – Thomas Ltd
• Hannah McCollum - Founder at ChicP
• John Valentine - MD of Red Communications Ltd
• George Smith – Washington Organic Apples
• Joe Revell – Blues Skies Fresh Produce– Head Technologist