Are You Hungry?

Terry D. Etherton

I have spent the last few weeks attending many Holiday celebrations and receptions.  A key component of these fabulous gatherings has been all of the delicious food.  In addition, I have received many food gifts from family, friends and colleagues.

We are deeply fortunate to live in a country where there is “food galore”. This reflects the impressive nature of our food system, from farm to fork, and the many science and technological advances that allowed this “to happen”.   However, I wish to remind my readers that there are many in the World that suffer from too much food, as well as too little food.  Both of these “bring” pressing social and health issues.

I have written about the economic and health costs of the overweight/obesity epidemic in the United States in a previous blog, “Land of Plenty – Overweight and Obesity in America“.   More than 66% of Americans are overweight or obese.  This reflects the reality that too many people eat too much food!  The fact that this epidemic is ongoing even though there are nutrition and health care intervention programs that could work indicates how difficult this problem is to “fix” on a population-wide basis.

The other “food issue” is hunger in the World. Based on estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there are more than one billion hungry people in the World!  This is about one-sixth of the World’s population.  It is incredulous to think about this especially given the wealth and agricultural scientific expertise in the developed countries of the World that could be brought to bear on solving the problem.

A very simple question follows:  What do “we” do about it? There is no easy “fix” for this.  Moreover, the “answers” are profoundly difficult to implement world-wide, especially given the poverty and geopolitical strife that exists in developing countries that contribute to the problem.

My encouragement is that as you enjoy all the food over the Holiday Season you consider what you might do to help address the problems that surround “too much food” and “too little food” in the global village.  And, consider providing a comment to this blog with your ideas for solutions.  In the New Year, this will be a theme of some of my blogs–i.e., what we all can do about food excesses and hunger in the World.

All the best for a Happy Holiday Season!

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