Nigeria’s Promise, Africa’s Hope

Check out this interesting article in which renowned author, Chinua Achebe, gives social commentary on a very complex country, the history that has facilitated the structural violence crippling Nigeria (and pretty much the rest of Africa), and the steps the nation must take to solve these problems.

“Medicine is a social science and politics is nothing but medicine on a large scale.” -Paul Farmer


Domestic Food Policy: Nutrition facts out of context

Prompted by Michelle Obama’s campaign against obesity, food makers and grocers plan to more prominently display important nutrition info on the fronts of food products. But it seems what the industry wants to emphasize is not the same as what Mrs. Obama had originally intended.

Excerpt:

“The Obama administration wanted the package-front labels to emphasize nutrients that consumers might want to avoid, like sodium, calories and fat. But manufacturers insisted that they should also be able to use the labels to highlight beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and protein.

The administration concluded that “in the end, the label was going to be confusing, because those things would be included out of context, and it could make unhealthy foods appear like they had some redeeming quality,” said an official who was not authorized to discuss the talks and spoke on condition of anonymity. For example, the official said, “ice cream would be deemed healthy because it would have calcium in it.”


Nutrition News

Just wanted to post some interesting New York Times articles about recent nutrition related initiatives here in America…

“Wal-Mart Shifts Strategy to Promote Healthy Foods”—Title is pretty self explanatory, but basically Wal-Mart has just drafted a 5-year plan to improve the nutritional content of their food brand. Click here for full article! http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/business/20walmart.html?pagewanted=1

“Food Makers Devise Own Label Plan”—following the suggestion of Ms. Obama, the food industry is creating nutrition labels with important nutrition information to be displayed on the front of boxes. while proponents regards this initiative as a good first step to educating consumers about what is in their foods, critics worry that the way the labels are made and the information that is provided may be confusing or may convey misleading information to consumers. Click here for full article! http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/business/25label.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1296003857-vcI1fpn7Mrs2+4X0JAHEgQ

Enjoy!

-Heather Polonsky


Food for Thought

Global Distribution of Death by Nutrition Deficiency

How does individual behavior affect the international realm?

In the past 50 years, the rapid growth of the fast food industry has stimulated the industrialization of food. As a result, a few big businesses have come to control the food industry: what is produced, how it is produced, who produces it, how it is distributed, to whom is it distributed, and, even, how is it regulated and by whom is it regulated. The grand-scale commercialization of food, especially meat, has given rise to a new type of agriculture–factory farming.

Overproduction of corn from a farm factory.

Factory farming is not only unsustainable, but also perpetuates inequity among nations with regards to food abundance. Consumers, as an aggregate entity, influence the supply and demand of such unhealthy, unsustainable foods. Through informed, conscious choices, consumers can change what businesses sell, who will change how farming works, who will decrease overproduction which could lead to further equilibrium among countries.

– Kalindi Shah


Kicking off winter quarter 2011 in style

Photo courtesy of Allyson Westling / GlobeMed at Northwestern

Happy New Year! GlobeMed at Northwestern is back to work this quarter, having met for our first chapter meeting of the quarter last night. This year, we’re looking forward to our new globalhealthU curriculum on nutrition (especially relevant to our current project at the H.O.P.E. Center), continuing our fundraiser for the H.O.P.E. Center, collaborating with Healthy Albany Park and much more, all leading up to the 2010 GlobeMed Global Health Summit later in April (early deadline for applications: January 9; regular deadline: January 23). Look for a GlobeMed at Northwestern member on campus in one of our new, bright blue T-shirts and ask them about what global health equity means to them!