It's pretty exciting to be launching LunchBox, Inc. finally... It is exciting to be bringing a product into the market at a time like this, where there is so much need for inspiration, empowerment, education and change.
In a society where it's easier and honestly a lot more convenient to buy pre-packaged food and spend our hard-earned money on entertainment, holidays or fun; making a decision to be intentional about nourishing ourselves and our children, is one that's often seen as counter cultural!
In our time pressured world, getting into the kitchen to cook from scratch with real food ingredients is seen as a luxury, not a necessity. In my opinion, this has got to change.
Did you know New Zealand has the third highest obesity rate in the OECD, and that our rates are rising? Statistics from the Ministry of Health Health Survey (2014/2015) report almost one in three adult New Zealanders (over 15 years) are obese, and one in nine children! Obese children are likely to become obese adults, leading to a huge number of health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, stroke, cancers, osteoarthritis, sleep apnoea and reproductive abnormalities. Obesity in children is also associated with musculoskeletal problems, asthma and psychological problems including body dissatisfaction, poor self esteem, depression and other mental health problems. I could go on! The question is, do we want this for our children?!
If we want to stem the tide of the alarming rate of growing childhood obesity in New Zealand, if we want to change the direction of the future generations health, we need to get back in the kitchen!
Although research has proven some people are more genetically susceptible to weight gain than others, scientists have also finally come to believe that the rapid increase in the prevalence of obesity in recent years has occurred too quickly to be explained by genetic changes alone. Most experts now believe it is due to living in an increasingly ‘obesogenic’ environment – one that promotes over-consumption of food and limits opportunities for physical activity (Ministry of Health, 2015). So now even the government is concluding it starts with what we put in our mouths!
In a recent article by Sarah Lang in North & South magazine (2016), Robyn Toomath is interviewed about her new book 'Fat Science'. She reports that international research shows obesity isn't something individuals or even the health sector can solve themselves. Only governments can make this happen. She suggests sugar tax, banning sugary drinks and junk food in schools, zoning restrictions on fast-food outlets, subsidies of fruit and vegetables, stopping advertising and visual spam of junk-food advertising on buses, buildings and public toilets, and even changing the way our supermarkets are laid out.
I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called 'Fed Up'. If you haven't seen it, you must. I knew childhood obesity was a thing, but after watching the film, I was down right outraged! In a nutshell (and so as not to ruin the plot for those intending to watch), the documentary focuses on the issue of childhood obesity in the US and who is to blame. Now common sense would say it must be the parents fault for 'allowing' their children to consume nutrient poor foods and to sit for hours playing video games instead of being active. However, the film points out that the whole of society, from the advertisements children view, the bill boards and marketing on the roadside, to the vibrant child friendly packaging in the supermarket aisles, everything, is set out to make it easier and more enticing for our children, and for us to consume fake food.
Obviously it simplifies things too much solely blaming Big Food companies. There are other factors as work which need to be addressed by the government, including why real food is often more expensive that processed (e.g. a 2L carton of milk costs twice as much as a 2.25L bottle of coke!), not to mention the need to more actively dispel the 'low-fat is healthy' myth. But I digress! That's a tangent to be discussed in a future blog.
To be able to be part of the movement encouraging real food choices in New Zealand is such a joy! We really do look forward to the journey and can't wait to share more with you all in the future.
Ministry of Health (2014). Obesity data and stats. Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz/nz-health-statistics/health-statistics-and-data-sets/obesity-data-and-stats
Sarah Lang. (2016, May). How the world is making us fat. North & South, (362), pp. 34-39.