China has gone from famine to gluttony in one generation. Overconsumption, western diets and sedentary lifestyles in urban areas have created an alarming rise of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. In one generation, the percentage of Chinese children who are overweight skyrocketed from 5% to 20%. While China accounts for 1/5 of the world’s population, it also includes a disproportionately high 1/3 of the world’s diabetics. The increasing healthcare costs to treat these diseases alone threaten to bankrupt the economy. China needs to shift its focus from treating diseases to preventing them.
China’s health crisis is also a global one. Today, food production is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Globalization, increases in individual purchasing power, overconsumption, waste, and a growing demand for meat and dairy are straining the environment. Additionally, our urban centers are growing daily, which means the number of people disconnected from the environment and their food sources is on the rise.
What if we could reverse these developments? What if we could start small and make a difference for the future? The good news is that we can: educating the next generation of smart consumers needs to start now. Teaching children about nutrition, source, and sustainability of food production AND consumption is the difference between a planet of plenty and a planet that's empty. Join me to discuss how we can share the lessons of tomorrow with the children of today.