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I wanted to share a brief breakdown from my interviews and a few of my favorite quotes.
They told me:
Healthy people have favorite foods that aren’t vegetables. The people I interviewed enjoy bread, chocolate, alcohol, cookies, sugary breakfast cereals, and ice-cream.
Given the hypothetical opportunity to cook or dine with anyone in the world, most people would choose their family.
Many of the people I interviewed think that local crops should be subsidized instead of the current crops that are subsidized like corn. Others think that levies or taxes on sugar added foods or beverages could potentially be structured to reduce the cost of fruits and vegetables.
Almost everyone I spoke to mentioned that education, improving access to food or modifying the present agricultural system were likely routes to improving public health.
In your opinion what’s one of the biggest barriers we’re facing as a population to healthy eating?
That varies quite a bit in South Africa. There are poorer communities that have shops which provide accessible foods but it’s mostly highly processed foods and sugar added foods. Some of the cultural foods in those areas are deep fried as well. Unfortunately, due to the history of South Africa, many of the people living in these communities aren’t well educated they don’t understand the link between nutrition and health or have the necessary access to healthy inexpensive foods.
They may consume excesses of unhealthy foods because they’re cheaper and we end up seeing the obesity of poverty and the poverty cycle continues. We see malnutrition as well but in Cape Town and surrounding areas we see a lot more obesity-related malnutrition than starvation.
In the wealthier communities, we see more physical activity and exercise culture.
In these areas healthy eating is almost a trend, however, I do still see obesity in wealthy people. South Africa really is a mixed bag..