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Mother always says "Eat your vegetables!" and will spend countless days bargaining and begging her kid(s) to eat food that will keep them healthy. Children spend years avoiding many veggies because they don't taste yummy or sweet. Well, children in developed countries, that is. It's nothing new. Too many children in impoverished and undeveloped countries don't have this luxury. These children lack proper food, clean water, and sanitation. This needs to end.
Like I stated in my last blog, not eating enough of the right foods can damage a child over days, months, and even years. There are immune issues, development issues, cognitive delays and many other related illnesses that are completely preventable if everyone had proper nutrition and good food. It may seem like there is not much we can do oversees, but there is plenty we can accomplish, at least at a local level. As far as America goes, there are food banks that receive donations of pantry foods that are then distributed to people living on a low income or are otherwise unable to purchase food on a regular basis. Food stamps is a government program in which the card owner can purchase food at almost every grocery store. A country wide program called Feed America First also aims to provide meals to people in need. The effort is there, but the fight is not over, even in America.
But how did hunger and malnutrition become such a worldwide issue, you ask? In developed countries, I believe that a major contributor is low wages and increasing prices of quality food. Corporate greed plays a role in the consistently low wages and high prices of many items on store shelves. The few corporations that own the majority of food in America receive government subsidies, which influences the prices of food. This is evident everywhere we look. McDonalds burgers are very cheap, but their salads are more expensive. The highly processed foods with low nutritional value on store shelves are between $1-$3 per item. Produce, on the other hand, is $1-$5/lb. Depending on the fruit or vegetable you are looking at, that is $1-$5/serving. It is financially better to buy the cheap food, since there are more servings. But in the long-run, health is sacrificed.
In developing and impoverished countries, the situation is different. Many food crops are sold to developed countries to feed farm animals so that the people of those countries can eat meat. This creates a food deficiency in the poorer countries. It takes 10lbs of grain to produce 1lb of meat. Yes, 10:1. And it isn't the impoverished countries getting that pound of meat. It's the countries that eat meat on a regular basis: many European countries and North America are on the top of the list.
Not only are we losing out on valuable grains, we also lose clean water. Eating one hamburger costs the same as six months of showers, in terms of water usage. Water is used to grow the food and animals, then in cleaning the meat and in transportation. Also, certain regions of the world lack clean water and electricity for various reasons. The electricity issue can be fixed with machines already in use: solar panels, wind turbines and power lines are just three. Clean water can be shipped in and driven to areas where it's needed most until water-cleaning machines can be utilized.
I believe that if people and big companies put their money and hearts where their mouths are, the world would be a much different place.
This link takes you to a website page containing more information on this topic. People living in hunger, malnutrition and disease is horrifying and devastating to the planet. There's photos, videos and information about what "low income" and malnutrition is like in other countries around the world. With more awareness and correct information on this topic, hopefully it will be overcome.
To donate to the World Food Programme or for more information, visit here.