Food and Global Health

September 15, 2020 by No Comments

Hi everyone. Welcome to Edible Education today. Today we have a lot of really great Speakers. First before class actually starts, we are very lucky to have two people from the prevent cruelty initiative. And that’s happening here in California. So from before class starts I would like to introduce you to a few very great people, Patty Northcut,

[APPLAUSE] Hi, so Lydia and I are working with Prevent Cruelty California on a November 2018 ballot initiative. That would end the extreme confinement of three species of factory farm animals. That are currently kept in tiny cages so small that they can’t move. And Prevent Cruelty California is a coalition of organizations including the Humane Society, Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Mercy for Animals, the Humane League and I see a lot more. And Lydia’s gonna talk to you a little bit more about the confinement that these animals go through. >> Thanks, Patsy. Yeah, so you know this is a whole course about food So you may have already heard what I’m about to say. But there are more than 9 billion land animals, now, currently trapped in factory farms, raised for food, in the US.

And there is, surprisingly, even now, almost no federal legislation that works to give them more humane conditions in their living. Aside some relatively small measures that apply to transportation and slaughter. And even those don’t apply to birds. Chickens, which are the vast majority of that nine plus billion animals. This legislation for prevent for Prevent Cruelty California would enable these animals, that is, veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens. To at the minimum have the room to spread their wings or spread their limbs, stand up, turn around. Many, really most of them, can’t really do that right now, so I’m very passionate about this.

I think it’s groundbreaking legislation. If it gets on the ballot I know it’s gonna be voted on and I’m really supportive of it. >> And the Guardian, we were on the front page of the Guardian a week ago on March seventh. And this article right here the headline kind of says it all. It’s a history in the making. California aims for the world’s highest farm animal welfare law. The new law would ban the sale of all eggs, pork, or veal from a caged animal putting the state ahead of the EU. If campaigners can get enough signatures, so that’s our challenge right now. And the real leverage of this law is that it not only applies to everything in California, but everything sold into California. And Calfornia’s the sixth biggest economy in the world, so it has a lot of leverage in states.

That wouldn’t otherwise put an initiative like this on their ballot for the voters to decide. So I thought I’d just kind of briefly touch on what a ballot initiative is for anybody who might not already know. Basically, it’s the most direct way that everyday citizens can enact change. It’s a paper petition, not an online petition. Signed by a certain number of registered voters that can bring by about a public vote to create a local laws in California. And we are one of 24 states that allow this. You wanna talk about? >> Sure, a question that comes up because I’ve been collecting signatures for this for months is will this effect the cost of food? Cost increases are expected to be minimal to non existent. Maybe a penny or two on eggs and there’s not gonna be any tax to support his at all.

So, its, again it is something, it’s a measure that’s gonna really improve our food system. For people, for animals, for the environment cuz remember this increases food safety as well. Overcrowded animals lead to more cases of salmonella, etc., when they’re all crammed into cages together. >> So I wanna just touch base briefly on if this calls to any of you, we have until April 23rd to get all of our signatures. And there’s several ways that you all can be involved. And this video here is the homepage, on the homepage of the website. And so to just give you a tiny overview, wait, go. >> Hey you, want to help end some of the worst forms of factory farm cruelty? If you live in California this is your chance to make a big difference. Right now, Animals in factory farms are routinely crammed inside cages so small they can barely move an inch for nearly their entire lives.

But a historic ballot initiative could change that forever. The California Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act would ban the production and sale of products made from animals kept in these cruel cages for good. That’s where you come in. To get this measure up for a vote, we need to get more than half a million signatures from California voters. >> If this issue calls to you, there’s three things you can do as you’re leaving class. We’re going to have five of us on either exit getting those signatures. >> And it really just takes a minute to stop and Sign if you are registered voter. So it would be wonderful all of you signed if it calls to you. And then if it really calls to you then you could actually join us in getting signatures. Chris Wynn is actually gonna be here and he’s gonna be up top and he’s featured in the Guardian article. He’s like our best signature gatherer and he’s like this adventure king that goes on these great signature gathering adventures. And you all could join him if you wanted to.

We highly recommend it. And then the third thing you could do is if you have ideas for ways for us to talk to other classes to get lots of people involved. Please let us know, my email address is Patsy So you can just send me an email. I’ll connect you and you can sign up together. You can learn more about all of this online at And the valid initiatives up there are lots of information. And if you want a packet sent to you you could have it sent to you, or we can also give you one here after. Thanks a lot for considering, yeah. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Thank you so much. Now we also have someone who’s gonna lead class today.

Professor Rosenwag is out of town and there’s a lady who, a woman, who really leads this class behind the scenes. Her name is Hannah Love and she’s been such a force behind this class for so many years. She works on the edible schoolyard side of the class so let’s all give her a really warm welcome. >> [APPLAUSE] Thanks, Verhini. I am usually behind the scenes, so it’s a pleasure to step in for Professor Rosenzweig tonight. But I’m a little out of my element, so bear with me. Welcome to Class Nine of our Edible Education lecture series on understanding the food system. And I wanted to mention really quickly, before we get into introducing our speakers, that we’re gonna take attendance at the end of class tonight, not now. We’re gonna wait until the end.

So once we’re done with the Q&A, stick around if you wanna get counted. Last week, you remember we had Paul Hock in here, talking about his wonderful, kind of inspiring project Drawdown and the work of his newly published book by the same title. I know a lot of us found his presentation really inspiring and very solutions-oriented for the future. And thinking about climate change and kind of the systems that we already have at our fingertips for making some pretty incredible changes going ahead, so that was inspiring. And tonight we are really fortunate to have Dr. Leah Fernald and Wendy Gosleiner here. They are going to sort of give us some perspectives on food and nutrition through the public health lens, both internationally and locally together. Their perspective is really rich. And I know you guys work together, so that’s a really lovely thing. So we welcome you both.

Dr. Leah Fernald, I’m just gonna say a little bit about you both and read it cuz I don’t have it memorized. Is director of Public Health Nutrition and professor in the Community Health Sciences here at Berkeley’s School of Public Health. She’s a respected expert in global health, working at the intersection of human development, nutrition, and policy. Her work over the last 20 years has focused specifically on infants and children in low income and middle income countries, with the overarching goal of improving lives of vulnerable children through innovative interventions. And Wendy Gosleiner is a doctor of public health and a registered dietician. She’s a project scientist with UC’s Nutrition Policy Institute in the division of Ag and Natural Resources.

You’re based here in Berkeley though, right, yeah. She has dedicated her career to understanding, teaching about, and working to improve policies and programs that affect population health and nutrition. With a focus on eliminating health disparities and improving federal food and nutrition programs. Please give them both a warm welcome. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Thank you. >> So much. >> Yeah. >> I’ll give you a time check. >> Great. >> You’re gonna start with pi or start with. >> First of all, we wanna wish you all, Happy Pi Day. >> [LAUGH] >> So we have as an ice breaker activity, does anybody know more than three digits of pi? Cuz we have prizes, two prizes for the top number of digits of pi. Who’s ready to go? I have two pies here,

So, I realize it’s a little tricky because of the microphone placement, but if you can shout out answers, I’m happy to repeat those into the mic, so everyone can hear. So I’m gonna talk about the global paradox of malnutrition and obesity. So you may be aware that 6 million children die every year from under-nutrition, from completely preventable causes.

You may be aware that 1 billion people on the planet are overweight or obese. What you may not know is that these things are happening in the same countries, the same households, and in some cases, in the same children, who are stunted, which is a sign of under-nutrition, and obese, which is a sign of over-nutrition. So, we have what we call the nutrition transition, which is really this evolution of epidemiologic transition, a demographic transition, all of which then manifests as a nutrition transition. In which we have the prevalence of diseases related to poverty, poor water, poor sanitation, then also transitioning to being diseases of obesity, diabetes, hypertension. So the nutrition transition technically is this decrease in prevalence of underweight and under-nutrition, and an increase in the noncommunicable chronic diseases.

And what you can see here, which I’m gonna try to read backwards [LAUGH] so I can make sure to show you. Cuz I can’t see this without looking at it. These are the stages of nutrition transition. Here we go, perfect, thank you. I won’t stand here the whole time. So let’s start at the far left. So this is the hunter-gatherers, this is where the hunter-gatherers are. You can see the consumption patterns, wild plants and animals, the very labor-intensive lifestyle. These are lean, robust high disease rate, but low fertility and pretty low life expectancy. Then we get to pattern two, which is settlements beginning, monocultural periods, famine emerging, cereals dominating, and this is when we start to see the emergence of nutritional deficiencies.

So for example, I work a lot in Madagascar, in Madagascar, the staple crop is rice. Now rice is missing a key amino acid, so it’s not a complete protein, and it also is missing a lot of micronutrients. So when you have a population in Madagascar, for example, 50% of kids are malnourished, stunted, because they just, from their basic pattern of Consumption, they’re not able to get all their micronutrients. So you have nutritional deficiencies emerging, and stature decline. So that’s the sign of stunting, which is low growth rate and, low height. Then we get to pattern three here, which is industrialization and receding famine.

So this is when you have the focus on starchy low variety foods, lower fat, higher fiber, and still, in all three of these cases, really consuming water as the main beverage. It’s labor intensive, so you also have calories that are expended through labor intensive work at home, or out in the industry. And then when you’re having stunting, and micronutrient deficiencies. Now this pattern here where, for example, you’re going then to having an increase in non-communicable diseases.

So this is where we’re talking about the pattern, and what you would have read about in the articles you were assigned for today, which is that you see in countries, Brazil, Mexico, Ghana, countries you may not expect. You have actually increased fat consumption, increased sugar, processed foods, higher calorie beverages, and this shift in technology. So this is then when obesity is emerging, and then the nutrition-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and hypertension. And then, [LAUGH] then where do we go from there? And Wendy’s gonna talk to you about, where do we go from there in the United States? And this is really the challenge, is moving then from pattern four to pattern five. And we know that no country to date has reversed its obesity epidemic. No country to date has reduced the prevalence of obesity, we haven’t really learned very well how to get to get from pattern four to pattern five. Ideally then,

we would have pattern five, which is reduced fat, increased fruit and vegetables, and carbohydrates, increased water, and a reduction on the kind of concentration of caloric beverage intake. And then replacing sedentarism with purposeful activity. So this is really the stages of nutrition transition. And what I’m gonna be talking about today is really just going from pattern three to pattern four. So you might be asking, what’s driving this transition?.

And it really has to do with many factors, and we’ll talk more specifically about what they are. But it really has to do with increasing life expectancy, urbanization, increase household income, which is allowing you to purchase more goods outside of the home, economic growth and globalization. And then it’s unhealthy lifestyle. And I’ll talk in more detail about each one of these issues. [LAUGH] wonder what that was. >> [LAUGH] >> So as a consequence of these patterns, and of this change. So this is really a demographic transition, leading to an epidemiologic transition, leading to a nutrition transition. What you see now is a prevalence of obesity which might surprise you. So this is a map developed by Barry Popkin at the University of North Carolina.

And you can see this is the patterns of overweight and obesity, globally, from these nationally representative samples. And you can see here this is now to 31 to 40%, overweight and obese among adults. And over 51% is the pink. Take a moment to look at this map. And I’m shocked every time I see this map, because it’s shocking to me that there are countries in Africa, South Africa, for example, that has a high prevalence of overweight and obesity. Mexico, a country where I’ve worked, for almost two decades, the prevalence of obesity is almost as high as it is in the United States. The prevalence of diabetes, in Mexico, higher than the United States.

14% of Mexican adults are diabetic, and 12% in the United States. So it’s really remarkable that the countries, for example, African countries, and South American countries, and Asian countries that have the co-currents of low consumption of foods, and also higher consumption of foods, or just very poor quality of foods, which could lead both to stunting, and to obesity. You may think, well maybe this is just in adults? And this is problems of adults? But you can see from this graph, these are countries in comparison to the US, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabi, Iran, South Africa, Seychelles, Hong Kong, and China. Mapped from 1971, up to 2012, and showing you the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity.

Well certainly, we’re number one, US, in terms of the prevalence, and Wendy will be talking to much more detail about this. But you can see that all these countries, look at that sharp line, and that sharp increase, in terms of the increasing prevalence in child obesity. So we really are seeing this among the adults, and we’re seeing it among the kids. And it may be that there’s just a real shift. If you’re interested in reading a book about this, The World is Fat, by Barry Popkin, is really an interesting look at this, and the trends. I’m gonna be talking a little bit about his book tonight, too. So here’s the mismatch, okay?

Our biology tells us one thing, and our environment provides another. For example, we have preferences for sweetness. This has been really important, evolutionarily, that we seek out sweet foods, and then what do we have in our environment? Well our technology has allowed us to make cheap caloric sweeteners, and food processing much more easily. So this sweet preference that’s biologically driven, is paired with an abundance of sweetness. So this is a recipe for disaster. Secondly, we have a thirst and hunger satiety, mechanisms are not linked. For example, if you have the same amount of calories, what this means is you could have the same amount of calories in a meal, and you put it in a beverage, your body does not experience those calories the same way. You don’t feel as full if you have a beverage that has the same number of calories as if you have in a food.

So this is part of the reason, too, that with all of these high calorie beverages, the beverage revolution, we are then far exceeding the number of calories that we should eat in any day, because our bodies aren’t perceiving the satiety cues. Thirdly, this is, again, another biological issue, which is that we have preference for fatty food. Again, this drive for sugar, the drive for salt, the drive for fat, these are all things that kept us alive. And now they’re killing us because we desire the fatty foods. And then we have this edible oil revolution with higher yield seeds, and much cheaper oils. And so then, fast food, and fatty foods can be much cheaper. And then we also have the desire to eliminate exertion. So we are desiring to be still, to be sitting, to be lying, to be sedentary.

We think about all the innovations we’ve made, so that we don’t have to be sedentary, computers, [LAUGH] bicycles- >> [LAUGH] >> Cars, every possible thing that we can do to get around without having to exert too much. And so then we have all this technology, and all phases of movement and exertion that clashes with our biology. So really, all of these forces are clashing, and then setting us up for failure at at global level. Here is the crux of the double burden. So this is called the double burden because it’s the double burden of malnutrition and obesity.

So pick a country of your choosing on this graph. And you can see here, for example, I will pick Rwanda. And what you see in the dark line is the prevalence of a mother being overweight, so a mom being obese. And so that you would have, in Rwanda, over 30% of moms are obese, and over 40% of kids are stunted. You can even have this in the same household. This is at a population level. You can have it in the same household, it’s very common that you have an obese parent, and then a stunted child. And in some work that I did in Mexico, we found that there were children who were 10% of indigenous children. Or obese and stunted simultaneously.

So, if you think about any time you might come up with a solution for undernutrition, for example, well, let’s just feed kids more, ’cause they obviously need the calories. That’s the kind of solution that then may end up promoting obesity and other nutrition-related chronic disease. So the question is, why is this happening? Why do you think that there’s such an abundance of calories available in low and middle-income countries? Why is there such a high prevalence of obesity and overweight? And why is it that these conditions are occurring together? I’m gonna ask you for one second to turn to somebody next to you and discuss this question.

Then we’ll come back in like a minute after you discuss it. ‘Cause I wanna hear some ideas that you’re gonna shout out. If you’re not sitting right next to somebody you can lean.

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