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Curbside Produce to Curb Obesity

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm

This morning’s story comes to us from Canada where investigators found that people were 25% less likely to be obese if they lived in an area with fewer fast-food outlets than supermarkets, “The proximity of the obesogenic environment to individuals appears to be an important factor in their risk for obesity.”

Would you agree that, as a specie, we’ll get our nutritional needs where the least effort is required?  Why would we expand energy to then have to refuel?  It’s counter-nature (unless, of course, we want to lose weight.)  In the Canadian study, researchers drew the line at 800 meters. What is that?  Half a block or so?  I draw the line at curbside. 

I was driving my clunky car through the chaotic stone-paved streets of Asuncion (Paraguay) this morning when I came across a stand at roadside.  I rolled down my window and the stand attendant started to load my canvas bag with his merchandise: bananas, pears, apples, white lettuce, baby carrots, red onions, yellow peppers, eggs from the farm and fresh cilantro.  And I thought how lucky I was to work in a third-world country where you could still buy fresh produce at curbside.  Not that the big marketing machines are absent.  At the next big light, I was assailed by the soda vendor, the chip peddler, and the candyman but I did not roll down my window. 

So I say, bring back the fruit-and-veggie stand at the street corner, at the school gate, at the baseball field.  Let’s have cities issue inexpensive food cart licenses, provided that the carts only carry pre-approved healthy merchandise.  It could help us hunt and gather close to home and help us keep that so-called obesity “epidemic” in check.

reference: Spence JC, et al “Relation between local food environments and obesity among adults” BMC Public Health 2009; DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-192. 

Filed under: diet, community nutrition, diet, nutrition, obesity, public health, weight control, weight loss

This morning’s story comes to us from Canada where investigators found that people were 25% less likely to be obese if they lived in an area with fewer fast-food outlets than supermarkets, “The proximity of the obesogenic environment to individuals appears to be an important factor in their risk for obesity.”

Would you agree that, as a specie, we’ll get our nutritional needs where the least effort is required?  Why would we expand energy to then have to refuel?  It’s counter-nature (unless, of course, we want to lose weight.)  In the Canadian study, researchers drew the line at 800 meters. What is that?  Half a block or so?  I draw the line at curbside. 

I was driving my clunky car through the chaotic stone-paved streets of Asuncion (Paraguay) this morning when I came across a stand at roadside.  I rolled down my window and the stand attendant started to load my canvas bag with his merchandise: bananas, pears, apples, white lettuce, baby carrots, red onions, yellow peppers, eggs from the farm and fresh cilantro.  And I thought how lucky I was to work in a third-world country where you could still buy fresh produce at curbside.  Not that the big marketing machines are absent.  At the next big light, I was assailed by the soda vendor, the chip peddler, and the candyman but I did not roll down my window. 

So I say, bring back the fruit-and-veggie stand at the street corner, at the school gate, at the baseball field.  Let’s have cities issue inexpensive food cart licenses, provided that the carts only carry pre-approved healthy merchandise.  It could help us hunt and gather close to home and help us keep that so-called obesity “epidemic” in check.

reference: Spence JC, et al “Relation between local food environments and obesity among adults” BMC Public Health 2009; DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-192. 

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