by Jason Foscolo
Public health advocates have sought to change the food system along a handful of major axes. Right up there with calls for greater clarity in nutrition labeling are initiatives to solve the “food desert” problem and to change the nutrition content of the national school lunch program.
The media is just now beginning to percolate with indications that some of these efforts do not immediately have their intended effect. Today the Kansas City Star reports that some schools are seeing an increase in their food waste as children reject the healthier foods they are being given. Earlier in February, the L.A. Times reported on this study which said that low-income neighborhoods did not in fact pounce on the opportunity to eat healthier after more nutritious shopping options were introduced into their neighborhoods.
The benevolent intent of food policy leaders seems to be too easily frustrated by consumers and school children. Granted these stories are based on preliminary reporting, but they leave me wondering about Act II of the drama (or comedy, as you may prefer). Human volition continues to obstruct the aims of those who encourage people to eat healthier, and this undeniable fact leaves me wondering what public health advocates will call for on the next round of change.