Learning to eat right
It’s a tough job to try to influence every single family in terms of healthy eating. Policies that make healthy foods more convenient and affordable than unhealthy ones would be a big step in the right direction. The increasing move towards taxing sugary drinks is one significant example. Ending subsidies on corn in the US, which gets turned into high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other additives in heavily processed food would also help.
Another approach would be to try to influence the food consumed in institutional settings, including schools and universities. Here in Bangladesh, I’m working with interns at the Institute of Wellbeing to start developing guidelines for school and university canteens that will be better for both health and the environment. Students are making audits of the availability of drinking water on their campuses and of the items available in canteens. Is it only junk food, or are there healthy options available?
The next step will be some research on Bangladeshi law on this issue and on best practices worldwide. I hope some of the interns will be interested in delving deeply into the possibilities, including financial feasibility, of selling some fresh, healthy foods on campus. We will also try producing some informational materials to influence students to drink water rather than soft drinks and to choose the healthy options. If we succeed at a couple of campuses, we then hope to work on making this government policy so as to have a far greater reach!