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Jamie Oliver Puts America’s Diet on a Diet

October 11, 2009

The following excerpts are from an article in the New York Times. written by Alex Witchel.

Last year, an Associated Press article designated the Huntington-Ashland metropolitan area as the unhealthiest in America, based on its analysis of data collected in 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half the adults in these five counties (two in West Virginia, two in Kentucky and one in Ohio) were obese, and the area led the nation in the incidence of heart disease and diabetes. The poverty rate was 19 percent, much higher than the national average.

[Jaime Oliver] has made it his mission in recent years to break people’s dependence on fast food, believing that if they can learn to cook just a handful of dishes, they’ll get hooked on eating healthfully.
“Being in the kitchen is the most simple part of life,” he said. “People talk about it like it was some sort of science experiment.”

What’s really happening is about more than old habits dying hard or the love of frying. The reason the world is still waiting for the Messiah is that most people don’t actually want one, no matter how many fresh fruits and vegetables he’s carrying. Oliver expects some of the same pushback in Huntington, whether it comes from recalcitrant teenagers, petty bureaucrats or parents who don’t like being told they’ve failed. It remains to be seen whether the contest between being threatened and resentful versus forthright and true can trump the American intoxication with show business: will this much-maligned area let a Member of the British Empire play Pygmalion and win? In this country, ordinary people seem willing to do or say almost anything to be immortalized in the latter-day vaudeville of reality shows. Oliver’s goals here, no matter how authentic, can be thwarted if the balance between camera hunger and social reform goes off-kilter.

Read the whole article
Jamie Oliver Puts America’s Diet on a Diet

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