Changing the Way We Approach World Food and Nutrition: Part 1
The voice of change is as simple as repeating, over and over and over. Someone will listen. ~ Kelly Pugliano, EatPicks.com
Experts on how the world cooks and eats recently came together for a live chat in our community. You joined in with great questions, tweets and thoughtful dialogue. This is the first of a two-part series on the essence of our far-ranging conversation and the call-to-action for all of us. This first post focuses on challenges and problems.
Our team included Radha Muthiah, Executive Director of the Global Alliance of Clean Cookstoves, Karin Lapping, Senior Nutritionist with Save the Children, Adrianna Lolgalbo, Head of the Future Fortified Campaign for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and Kelly Pugliano, Founder of EatPicks.com.
Cooking is a universal action, something all of us understand. But many traditional cooking methods are actually dangerous -- methods we long abandoned in the USA. Radha Muthiah helped us get a sense of the size and nature of the issues.
“Clean cooking is indeed something that we in the US and West tend to take for granted. We have ample choices for all our kitchen appliances, including our stoves—and we don’t have the added complication of searching for our fuel daily!
“For many around the world the act of cooking…can kill. Almost 3 billion people, are impacted by harmful stove smoke and 2 million annually die from it -- more than those who die from HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria combined.”
Radha outlined the impact for millions of others inhaling the smoke, resulting in respiratory issues, environmental impacts of deforestation and a significant impact on nutrition. How so? For one, after trees have been stripped from the area the land is often unusable for crops, impacting the quality and quantity of produce available. The cost of fuel takes a large share of the family food budget, and reduces time available to grow gardens and prepare nutritious meals. Gathering fuel can take 2-4 hours a day in some areas.
Children’s already vulnerable immune systems are being further attacked by smoke inhalation while their mothers are preparing the very meals meant to sustain them. Those same kids aren't in school as much because older ones often accompany their moms to collect fuel.
It’s not just about cooking. It’s about getting essential nutrients into that cooking. “These nutrients are critical for one's health, yet unfortunately there are 2 billion people around the world who don’t have access to simple vitamins and minerals,” says Adrianna Logalbo of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).
Earlier this year, GAIN launched a new public awareness campaign -- Future Fortified -- to help ensure that women and children in particular have access to the nutrition they need. “Good nutrition from the moment of a woman's pregnancy to a child’s second birthday puts that child on the right track for good growth, brain development and long term productivity.
The impact of poor nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life is devastating. ~ Adrianna Lolgalbo, Future Fortified
Karin Lapping from Save the Children explained why this period is so critical. “It’s a very rapid period of growth…When children don't get the nutrients they need, they can suffer from permanent physical and cognitive damage.” It’s called stunting, and its effects are incurable and irreversible.
Why has this issue been so overlooked? ~ Simon
Karin Lapping explains, “Unfortunately, chronic malnutrition is not obvious to the naked eye, unlike acute malnutrition when you see children wasting away.
We've known for years -- it's getting the will and the energy and dare I say the outrage to do something about it. ~ Chrysula
Tomorrow we talk solutions and bringing these issues home!
Find www.cleancookstoves.org, like them on Facebook or follow on Twitter to learn more.
Visit www.everybeatmatters.org. Like them on Facebook, follow on Twitter or go to Save the Children.
At www.futurefortified.org get involved by liking the campaign on Facebook and following on Twitter.
Girl carrying wood: Michael Benanav / Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Nutrients: Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
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