With your voice you can influence the health of the food around you. †

With your voice you can influence the health of the food around you.  †

When you eat, you don’t immediately think of your town hall. But the municipality can, for example, prohibit a snack bar in the immediate vicinity of a school. Or decides to set up a new factory. A healthy living environment is important, but not all political parties are interested in it.

Half of the Dutch population is overweight. “Our body does not know how to deal with this period of abundance,” says Gerda Feunekes, director of the Nutrition Center. “All these fats, sweets and calories tempt us and we are unable to resist the temptation. Our bodies think I should eat that hot dog roll now.”

Research by the municipality of Rotterdam shows that the number of greengrocers has halved in the past ten years. The number of fast food restaurants has doubled. Feunekes: “Municipalities have a role to play. Why is that? Because they are partly responsible for our health.”

Lara Sibbing advises municipalities about food and believes they should take action. “The problem is so urgent that we need it at all levels: Europe, The Hague and all municipalities. Overweight is also referred to as a silent epidemic in our country. In addition, there are major environmental problems due to our eating behavior and the way we produce. food.”

“Half of the parties talk about healthy food”

An analysis among the thirty largest municipalities of the Nutrition Center shows that of the 120 programs examined, only a quarter mention sustainable food and half a healthy diet.

“Not the other half,” says Feunekes. “You really want a municipality to have a plan. Preferably a prevention agreement as we call it: How do we prevent more weight and disease? We hardly see that in half of what is discussed. You don’t deal with it on a large scale, there are crooked things like a healthy school lunch, but there are also fast food commercials.”

What can a municipality do then? Sibbing: “The municipality is responsible for the design of a neighborhood or city. It is also responsible for school buildings and provides grants. Municipalities can plant vegetable gardens for free or give fruit to schoolchildren.”

“If you want your employees to develop their skills, they also have to be healthy.”

Lara Sibbing, councilor

For example, Groningen and Zwolle have restricted the sale of unhealthy food near schools with their resettlement policies. “No more fast food restaurants,” Sibbing sums up. “Amsterdam has banned the advertising of unhealthy food to children in metros and stations.”

Less freedom, especially with a small wallet

But wait a minute: shouldn’t we know for ourselves what we put in our mouths? ‘Of course it is’, says Sibbing, ‘but it is very difficult for people to eat healthy. You are being led in the wrong direction by companies. That way you have less freedom.”

Healthy eating and sustainability are therefore not only left-wing themes, he continues. “The freedom to live healthy is also liberal. If you want your employees to develop their skills, they must also be healthy. And healthy food is now often more expensive.”

“If you think it’s important, you can find consultants who are working on it,” she advises. “If the parties don’t do that, you can ask questions or make your voice heard,” says Feunekes. “Because we have a problem.”

Source: NU