The Reality of Malnutrition in Developed Countries
When you hear the word ‘malnutrition’, what springs to mind? For many of us, images of war-torn countries and impoverished families come to the forefront. While this dreadful type of starvation is very much a reality, malnutrition is even more complex than that. Many of us who live in developed countries are actually malnourished despite consuming enough calories each day. How can this be? We consume the wrong types of food - those that are severely lacking in essential vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy.
Despite being considered prosperous nations, developed countries still face the difficulty of illness caused by poor nutrition. A lot of this comes down to poor diet, excessive fat intake and low fruit and vegetable intake. Much of this can be avoided by simply eating less and following a healthy diet that includes a variety of vegetables. Green vegetables and herbs are the best natural source of vitamins and minerals - a small change in diet can make a huge difference. Before reaching for vitamin or mineral supplement pills to relieve nutrient deficiencies, it would be wise for us to adapt our diets to include more green vegetables and herbs.
Faster progress is needed
Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control make for alarming reading. In the US alone, fewer than 1 in 10 adults and adolescents consume enough fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, 9 in 10 people aged 2 years or older consume too much sodium each day. The Report of the 50th Anniversary of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health gives us some very bleak figures too: poor diet is now the leading cause of poor health in the U.S., responsible for over half a million deaths each year. Furthermore, obesity has risen sharply from 15% of adults and 5.5% of children in 1980 to 39.8% of adults and 18.5% of children in 2016. Nearly three in four (71.6%) American adults are either overweight or have obesity.
On top of this it’s estimated that, around the world, problems related to our food system (healthcare, environment, security, education, economy) amount to $12 trillion. This sum is greater than the entire food sector’s revenue.
The World Health Organization reports that, as recently as 2008, 1.4 billion adults aged 20 and older were overweight. In the European region, the age-standardized prevalence of overweight was 58.3% for adult males and 51.2% for adult females. We are also seeing unhealthy foods becoming cheaper, more widely available, and more heavily promoted. According to the 2020 Global Nutrition Report, faster progress is needed to achieve the 2025 worldwide nutrition targets. These targets include a reduction in stunting, anaemia, low birth weight and no increase in childhood overweight among other things.
The solution of homegrown food
At Click & Grow, we believe everyone deserves to thrive and enjoy fresh, nutritious food. One of the most effective ways of introducing more nutritious food into your diet is by growing your own herbs, fruits and salad greens. Smart indoor gardens make it possible to grow food that’s rich in nutrients and dietary fibre even in the most remote, urban areas. With 68% of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2050, indoor gardening takes on even greater significance and value.
According to dietary recommendations for Americans by USDA, an adult’s weekly diet should include 1.5 cups of any dark green vegetable and 4 cups of other green vegetables. Dark green vegetables are remarkably efficient in covering micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) and antioxidant deficiencies. By simply growing and harvesting plant pods in rotation in a smart garden, it’s feasible for anyone to grow the much needed amount of greens at home. One of the keys to a healthy diet is consuming a wide variety of vegetables. Green vegetables should provide 20% of the whole vegetable intake, this means 0.5 cups per day per person.
The Click & Grow Smart Garden 27
Whether you live by yourself or with friends or family, Click & Grow smart gardens are an easy solution for introducing a greater variety of food into your diet. Green vegetables and herbs are one of the best natural sources of vitamins and minerals around. Together, we can help tackle the problem of malnutrition starting with what we feed ourselves. Our decision to eat a healthier diet can inspire others to do the same, especially considering how simple it is to grow nutritious greens at home.
For further reading, check out our blog posts:
The 5 Best Click & Grow Plants for Increasing Your Vitamin Intake
5 Tips for Getting Kids to Eat More Vegetables
Your stress-free way to grow vitamin rich plants 365 days a year