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Philly Talks: T. Colin Campbell and Marion Nestle

March 6, 2012

Philadelphia has a lot happening in the realm of research since it is the home to great universities and their associated hospitals: University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, Temple University , and Drexel University, to name a few.  This city also has a booming local food movement.  This brings big names to this city, such as those that have the experience and knowledge in nutrition research ,advocacy and policy.  Last week I had the honor of seeing two of my hero’s speak in the city of brotherly love: T. Colin Campbell at the University of Pennsylvania and Marian Nestle at Drexel University

Organized by Bruce Rogers, T. Collin Campbell, PhD spoke at Irvine Auditorium on Feb 29, 2012.  His talk, entitled Diet, Heart Disease, and Cancer; Health Policy Failure and a New Medical Paradigm, provided an overview of the results of The China Study and looked at where our health policy in America is failing.  The China Study looked at 6,500 adults in 65 counties over a 20 year span in China and collected blood samples, diet and lifestyle data via questionnaires, and samples of food from the local marketplaces were analyzed for dietary and nutritional factors.  With the 367 variables over 8,000 statistically significant associates were found between lifestyle, diet and disease.  The book is worth the read.  It’s bottom line?  Consider the information, and eat a plant based diet, or as close to it as you decide to.  It isn’t simple in our society with health care policy and the food environment making the unhealthy choice the easy choice.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH was the key note speaker at Drexel’s Student Conference on Global Challenges.  This years topic was FOOD!  Writer of several books, food advocate and researcher, Marion spoke humorously about this serious topic.  Here are some of the highlights that I found most interesting:

  • To burn 1 can of soda you need to walk briskly for 19 minutes OR for ONE HOUR slowly!Marion Nestle speaking at Drexel University
  • More and more non-food stores are selling food!  Staples and Bed, Bath and Beyond are great examples.
  • If you go to McDonalds with $5 you can get 5 burgers or 1 salad.
  • Over $47 million was spent on ads for pop tarts in a single year
  • Emerging markets equal huge dollar potential for large food corporations (a picture of a poor, rural India was shown on the presentation with a cart slap dab in the middle selling potato chips).  Where can you find more information on this?  Check out the New York Times business section.
  • Plumpy’nut is a product, not a food. Though it is good for emergency situations, it is not a sustainable fix to unstable food systems.
  • Vote with your fork.  If you don’t want large corporations getting the final say on what food is available, don’t buy it.

The more you know about where your food comes from and what effect it has on your body, the more empowered you will become to make healthy food choices.

Seeking more information?  Check out Haley’s list of resources!


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