Two-thirds of American adults and one-third of American children are overweight or obese, mostly due to diets full of salty, processed foods, fast-food meals and sugary soft drinks. In response, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has launched “Food Day” with the help of lawmakers, physicians, nutrition experts and chefs. It’s an opportunity for Americans to celebrate the health and environmental benefits gained from eating “real.”
Food Day will be held October 24, with events ranging from community potlucks to weight-loss campaigns to vegetable-identifying contests for kids. Participants will aim to address Food Day’s five central goals: to reduce America’s diet-related disease; support sustainable farms; reform factory farms that are bad for the environment and animals; curb junk-food marketing to kids and alleviate hunger by giving the 11% of Americans who live in “food deserts,” or communities that have access to only fast food and liquor stores, affordable access to healthy foods. Food Day could also help lighten the over $30 million a year the U.S. currently spends on heart disease and high blood pressure medicine by helping to inspire more Americans to adopt planet-friendly, low-fat, mainly vegetarian diets.
Michael Jacobson, the founder of CSPI, told E the organization is approaching its 40th anniversary. “We thought, ‘What can we do beyond having a dinner?’” he says. “It’s useful to have an event to tie the food movement together—hunger, sustainable agriculture, organics. There are so many more organizations working on food issues today.”