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What Impacts Organic Food Trends?

Sterling Heritage Solutions aims to discover local organic food trends and factors that may be serving as the underlying influences of healthy lifestyles, and how these factors can be replicated across the country to reduce the prevalence of obesity in the United States, and to increase awareness of the health benefits in organic farming.

Just by looking at people walking down the street, on the subway, and most commonly in restaurants, the problem is obvious. People are overeating and literally poisoning themselves with too much sugar and fat. Recent health coverage currently under debate is focused primarily obesity, which is probably a good idea given that most of our illnesses stem from unhealthy lifestyles and poor food choices. But how about we couple that with stopping the millions of ad campaigns to purchase and eat at restaurants that serve junk food. Have you ever gone out to dinner and not weighed 5 pounds more the next morning?

The United States has been identified as one of the most overweight countries in the world for years, and it is no secret that our unhealthy reputation stems from the lack of nutritional value in easily accessible and most affordable food options. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. For decades, the United States has experienced a growing number of adult and childhood obesity, thus also suffering a drastic increase in obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, some of which are the leading causes of preventable death (cdc.gov). Whether fast food chains, sedentary lifestyles, or industrialized farming is to blame, there is no denying that the United States is in desperate need of a change.

A growing number of areas like Brooklyn, NY, and other well-known cities in the United States are already taking action towards improving the health and well-being of their residents by promoting organic foods and local farming. Now, the question is: what makes some cities more likely to engage in organic farming and healthy living than others? Sure, we can all agree that socioeconomic status is a clear indicator that some might argue is the only reason for richer (and “hipper”) areas to be more likely to promote nutrition and healthy lifestyles, but can we really only link it to economic constraints? What else is behind this divide?

A recent White House press conference featuring Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, released a study showing that while obesity is still on the rise, a growing number of Americans are becoming physically active. Dr. Murray’s findings suggest that there has been a significant increase in the percentage of people becoming physically active and claims, “If communities in the U.S. can replicate this success and tackle the ongoing obesity impact, it will see more substantial health gains” (medicaldaliy.com). Murray’s study reflects our desire to understand the motivating factors that make some areas more health conscious than others, and how those factors can be replicated in areas that have lagged behind in health and nutrition.