Waist Not Waste

Fat is not always well fed.

BellyIn the well off, prosperous west there are constant press reports about the population’s ever growing waistlines; obesity has grown (pun intended) to epidemic proportions and is getting worse.

  • In England, data from 2011 shows that 24.8% of adults (16 or over) and 16.3% of children (2 -15) are obese.

In Africa and in some other places around the world, populations are also fat but it is often not the obesity we suffer from. Their extended, or in this case more accurately stated, distended waste-lines are the result of swollen bellies due to malnutrition. Not for everyone does a bigger belly mean more food.

In 2007 (the latest figure I could find) the United Kingdom wasted over 6.7 million tonnes of food and, to the best of my knowledge, the situation has not improved and might have worsened at the time of writing this post which, incidentally, was inspired by the IF campaign. I believe, perhaps wrongly and if so I’m sure someone will correct, that the USA wastes more not just because of the number of people but the proportion of each individual’s waste is higher too.

Just imagine how many starving people could be fed, and kept alive by the amount of food that the UK alone wastes. Sure there are hungry people in the UK, but when was the last time you heard of anyone here dying of starvation or malnutrition in this country?

As a Christian, I wonder what Jesus would think of the world food situation today. In His time there were rich and poor, fed and starving but also in his time the food supply was much more uncertain than now. There were times when there just was not enough food to go around. That is no longer true.

In the UK, we don’t do enough exercise for the amount of food we eat and when we do exercise, it is a leisure activity; in places like Africa large numbers of people do not eat or drink unless they exercise. We take the car 5 minutes down the road to the supermarket; they walk miles, sometimes tens of miles for one meal. We spent time wondering what to eat for our next meal; they spend time wondering when they might get another meal.

Here in the rich west we only need to sacrifice a little bit of lifestyle to save a life.

In our modern world we currently produce enough food to feed everyone, so why don’t we?

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