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NZ: Eat healthy for the good of the planet

Nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton says the key to reducing rising obesity levels may be to get people to eat healthy because it’s good for the planet. Although people generally agree there is a need for changes in diet, education isn’t working because the powerful food and beverage industries continue to convince people to buy their products. Dr Stanton told a conference:

We need to stop thinking of ourselves as ‘consumers’ – passive creatures who use up resources and do the bidding of marketers, and think of ourselves as ‘citizens’ – responsible participants who think of the future and the collective good.

Junk foods have a big carbon footprint and a major environmental impact, as does the huge amount of wasted fresh food. We have to find ways to reduce this, she says.

Dr Stanton wants to promote foods that are good for the health of the planet because they are also the foods that are recommended for good health. She says this approach needs to be backed up by governments applying appropriate taxes to junk food that reflect the true cost of the product, including its carbon footprint.

A so called ‘fat tax’ on junk food annoys people, but a tax on a food because it wastes resources that are needed for our children and grandchildren may get a different response.

She was speaking at the Agencies for Nutrition Action national conference in Auckland.

Read more: Press release, ANA/Scoop, 3 May 2011

Read Rosemary Stanton’s presentation to the ANA conference (PDF)

Updated 23 May 2011

Published on May 23, 2011 in New Zealand news