Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Why FoodScapes

English: Map from the Global Hunger Index publ...

English: Map from the Global Hunger Index published by IFPRI, Welthungerhilfe and Concern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why FoodScapes | FoodScapes.

From the 8 October post

Global food trade has come a long way. Is it for the better or has it made survival, nutrition, diversity and safety better.  There is a vast, complicated web of food systems throughout the globe. I think it is an essential topic that influences public health or vice versa. Consumers have a variety of fruits and vegetables at their fingertips due to even more complex trade agreements.  We have become dependent on import/export of foods, that many of us have completely lost touch or are growing up not knowing where our foods come from and how it came to be in its form. It is what we eat.  Be advised that a good portion of what I do write about (rusty) will pinpoint New Mexico.  However, much of what I write is based on a perspective of think local, act global and I feel that foodshed research is essential to that kind of thinking.  Below are some examples.

High Food Price Index Coincides with Civil Unrest: Surely people fight over this stuff as it posits a large portion of a nation’s wealth.  There are numerous studies done by economists and Food and Agriculture Organization that negatively correlate a global hunger index and food price index and incidences of civil unrest.  According to a Cornell University study, an analysis of Arab nation uprisings coincided with food index price increases.  They did also acknowledge and control for other social justice and political issues, but it would be difficult to ignore the relationship between food and other issues in a country.

This could be for a number of reasons, and I believe that this has to do with balancing expenses and food being the highest expense. It is one of my biggest monthly expenses and has been getting much harder to budget into the household income.  And I cook often and find myself scratching my head wondering why $20 doesn’t go as far as it used to, but at least that is all I do and that is a privilege-not the case across the globe.   This reached a high in 2010 and the anger was very apparent in Egypt.

food commodity price index                 foodpriceindex72014

Food shed and Local Economies: There is a significant economic impact that the food industry has on local markets, such as small rural communities that can make or break job opportunities and small business entrepreneurships.  In New Mexico 90% of agricultural products directly or indirectly related to the food industry are exported as reported in Dreaming New Mexico.  The same goes for imported food.  However, much of the imported food is not the same shape as when it was imported and has been transformed into a food product.

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October 16, 2014 Posted by | environmental health, Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interactive USDA Food Environment Atlas

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 7.10.43 AM

The USDA has published online an interactive map including food security issues by county.

Topics include”store/restaurant proximity, food prices, food and nutrition assistance programs, and how community characteristics—interact to influence food choices and diet quality.”

Options for printouts and exports (JPG and NPG).

A little tricky to use. Found by trial and error (I have a MacBook Pro) that the arrows on the lower right  of my keyboard re-center the map.

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March 19, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day (Food Activism)

Interesting, thoughtful take on current movements focusing on food environments (schools, neighborhoods) before there is enough evidence.

Weight Maven

Social policy researcher Helen Lee thinks food activism is leading public health astray (emphasis mine):

Much of the American public health and medical establishment came to believe that one of the most powerful ways to overcome the [obesity] epidemic was to radically remake our school and neighborhood food environments­­, reducing­­ access to unhealthy foods and increasing access to healthy ones.

But in their rush to condemn corporate agribusiness, food marketers, and neighborhood food environments, public health advocates have too often allowed their policy and ideological preferences to race ahead of the science. This has fostered a reductive story about obesity that appeals to liberal audiences but doesn’t comport particularly well with much of what we know about why people choose to eat unhealthy foods, what the health consequences of being overweight or obese actually are, or why health outcomes associated with obesity are so much worse among some populations than…

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July 17, 2013 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , | Leave a comment

Something Fishy

FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Genetically modified food labeling is not the only labeling issue in the food supply.  Now we have another problem.

How can you be sure that grouper or tuna  you bought yesterday was really what it was promised to be?  According to the labs at Oceana.org  you can’t really trust the labeling of many common types of fish.  And so far, there’s appears to be nothing we can do about it unless the consumer complains enough.  Sushi lovers, beware – sushi is one of the most misrepresented of all. And while we’re discussing fish, insist on country of origin labeling, too.

CLICK HERE.

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March 22, 2013 Posted by | environmental health, Nutrition | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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