There is so much we can say and so much has been written about poor nutrition and those who are most affected by it. It’s about the depredation of poverty, inequalities of income and diet, and time. Just ask anyone who works 22 hours a day on minimum wages how much time they have to plan a healthy meal or consider more nutritious options to the quickest and most convenient forms of food available. The answer is not much at all. Tired legs don’t encourage anyone to stand in the kitchen and prepare a good meal.
Poor diet is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Such illnesses result in shortened life spans, fewer years of good health, and ultimately, increased hardship, especially when those living in poverty and working long hours must care for others who have been ravaged by the same problems. It’s a tough cycle to break.
Government programs to provide resources to those in need to spend on food are benign and encouraging. But, it is disheartening to see the same segment of the population inundated with relentless advertising images of the worst food choices possible. Studies show that repetition of food images, whether for meat or vegetables are effective in influencing eating behavior. Because we are bombarded with meat images daily, hourly, and almost every minute, it makes it hard to evoke a desire to seek out nutritious food choices when time and resources are thin. It’s hard even when time and resources are abundant.
When we envision helping those affected by inequalities in diet, it only goes so far when the mainstream messaging from the powerful consumer goods and fast food brands remind us constantly that they are the best choice for our resources and for our health and that consuming their products will produce happiness, when, clearly, the opposite is the case.