More than exercise, nutrition dictates a person’s health and fitness level. Unfortunately, there is a frightening amount of inequality in access to healthful food. Here are some (NYC-centric) facts:
- Residents in the poorest neighborhoods of NYC have higher rates of obesity and mortality compared to those in wealthier areas: >3 times the number of diabetes-related deaths and ~1.5 times the deaths from heart disease
- In 2001, the life expectancy in NYC’s poorest neighborhoods was 8 years shorter than in its wealthiest neighborhoods
- Over 70% of adults in Central Brooklyn (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights & Brownsville) are overweight or obese, compared with 53% in Northwest Brooklyn (Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Ft. Greene, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Red Hook)
- About 91% of New Yorkers do not eat the recommended servings of at least 5 fruits and/or vegetables per day
- North and Central Brooklyn, the neighborhoods in Brooklyn with the highest proportions of residents who don’t eat at least 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day, also have the highest rates of obesity; between 25% to 34%
- The Upper East Side/Gramercy neighborhoods, where a high proportion of people eat at least 5 fruits and/or vegetables a day also has the lowest prevalence of obesity; between 8% to 15%
- Lack of access to fruits and vegetables has been linked to obesity and related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke
The Brooklyn Food Conference, taking place May 2 at PS 321 and John Jay High School in Park Slope, will address this and other food issues. Activists, farmers, educators, citizens, restaurateurs, and other food experts will gather for a day of talks and activities, followed by a dinner prepared by local chefs.
Featured speakers include:
- Dan Barber, executive chef and owner of Blue Hill Restaurant
- Anne Lappe, co-author of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen
- Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System
- LaDonna Redmond, head of the Institute of Community Resource Development in Chicago
“Never before have there been such compelling reasons to rethink our energy policy, our environmental policy, and our health care system – and we cannot make headway on any of these without addressing food,” said Dan Barber, who will speak at the opening plenary session. (I wonder if he’ll also have a hand in preparing the food… I sure hope so!)
The conference is free, the dinner is $20. Register here.
References: 1. Karpati A, Kerker B, Mostashari F, Singh T, Hajat A, Thorpe L, Bassett, M, Henning K, Frieden T. 2. Website of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Physical Activity and Nutrition Program. Available at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/cdp/cdp_pan.shtml. Accessed February 1, 2009. 3. Health Disparities in New York City. New York: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2004. Roberts M, Kerker B, Mostashari F, Van Wye G, Thorpe L. Obesity and Health: Risks and Behaviors. NYC Vital Signs 2005; 4(2): 1-4.