By Caroline Colquitt
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2003-2006 and 2007-2008), more than two-thirds of adults in the nation are either overweight or obese.
Obesity has become one of the nation's top public health concerns as it has been well established that obese individuals are at an increased risk of death from stroke, heart disease and some cancers. One factor leading to the increased rise in obesity is the tendency for Americans to eat out more often, and by doing so, people are consuming large meals, high-fat foods, and placing convenience ahead of nutrition.
These statistics are all too familiar to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, who are the honorary co-chairs for Food Day 2011. Food Day 2011, sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is a nonprofit, people-powered effort to transform the American diet. The focus is to get Americans to "eat real" — meaning choosing to eat fresh food preferably from local, sustainable farms, and emphasizing the consumption of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and an overall healthy diet. These Food Day endeavors attempt to prevent the onset of obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases.
The main goals of this year's Food Day are:
--Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
--Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness
--Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
--Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
--Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to children
--Support fair conditions for food and farm workers
Food Day 2011 is backed by an advisory board including physicians, politicians, authors, nutrition professionals and anti-hunger advocates; however, the most important advocate for Food Day is you. Supermarkets, restaurants, local officials, farmers, chefs, school lunch providers, parents, teachers, students, community organizers and others are encouraged to promote Food Day in their own individual ways. Thousands of events will take place in farmers markets, schools, churches, state capitals, and homes, bringing Americans together, to strive for "healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way."
To get involved locally, join the Charleston Trident Dietetic Association (CTDA) as they host two events in honor of Food Day 2011:
--Oct. 27: Wine Harvest with Les Dames D' Escoffier at Lowndes Grove Plantation, 6 - 9 p.m.
--Oct. 29: Charleston Farmers Market Saturday celebrating Healthy Halloween
To learn more about Food Day 2011, visit http://foodday.org/. The website lists information for how to find events, how to plan events of your own, ideas for healthy recipes, as well as a number of other resources.
In addition, Ann Kulze, M.D., will host a free Eat Right for Life webinar in recognition of National Food Day from noon -1 p.m., Oct. 24. For more information, visit http://www.DrAnnWellness.com/FoodDay.cfm.