hunger, food, obesity, starvation …

Have you seen the “fat map?”
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein offers insight into food as a form of energy here. Quotable quotes after the jump …

Quotable from Princess Haya Bint Al Hussen:

Hunger now scars the lives of over 1 billion people — a new record. Today, Monday the 16th, world leaders will gather at a UN food summit in Rome to debate what to do about it. As a former Goodwill Ambassador for the World Food Program, I sense how the meeting may go. There will be more media attention on the politicians than on the issues, an abundance of speeches, and a series of oddly fancy luncheons — with more speeches. At a similar luncheon, I remember wondering: What if I could magically transfer the 1000 calories in this vanilla souffle in front of me to a malnourished child begging in the slums of Nairobi? Sharing the extra calories eaten in the United States or Europe alone would end hunger in Africa.
… The mis-distribution of food goes deeper than even the “Fat Map” implies. In India, for example, more than 300 million overweight people coexist with another 300 million who starve. Chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease that often stem from overeating are growing at a far faster rate in developing countries than in the more prosperous West. In my own region, the Middle East, obesity is skyrocketing, especially among young people.
… Globally we are moving to an “energy morality” with young people lobbying against wasting energy — yet there is no “food morality” even though food is organic energy. We sit by and watch each other overeat and discard food without a thought. Extravagant overindulgence is viewed as hospitality and many assume that being a good parent requires that we force feed those we love.

We pay dearly for this overconsumption. Recent calculations set obesity-related health spending just in the United States at $150-$200 billion — more than all foreign aid worldwide. The cost of extra medical care for the obese runs as high as $1400 per person annually. Over 2 billion people do not earn that much in a year…
While initiatives emerge to tax unhealthy food, improve nutrition education and label foods to show the carbon footprint required to produce them, there is no broad public embrace of the need to eat less and eat responsibly….
Would cutting overeating and waste really change the contours of the “Fat Map”? Not by itself. The UN estimates we need $30 billion more invested in agriculture yearly. But each of us can consume more wisely and donate food we now waste to a food bank or charity. If it makes sense to save energy, why throw away billions of dollars worth of food and overeat until it endangers our health and our future?