Posts Tagged ‘Labor Camps’

G3 Working to Help Solve the Obesity and Hunger Crisis

Many years ago, as a newspaper reporter in New York, I wrote a series about living conditions among migrant laborers on Long Island. These people and their families lived in squalid labor camps in communities that were right next to the Hamptons, where some of the wealthiest people in America spent their summers. Although the workers passed their days picking potatoes, tomatoes and other vegetables, they had little access to a balanced diet and no decent kitchens in which to prepare meals.

I thought until recently that this problem had been solved in our country. Then I became active in G3 Health and Fitness, a New Jersey not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing obesity in children, especially in Burlington and Gloucester Counties.  I learned that one-third of children in America are obese and that the numbers for the counties where G3 does most of its work are hardly better. For example, 37% of non-Hispanic black children in Gloucester County are obese.

Particularly shocking is the fact that, in the middle of this epidemic of obesity, there is a parallel epidemic of hunger. One in four children in our country don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Many of them go to school without breakfast, which has a major effect on their ability to learn. Don’t think that there aren’t plenty of these children in the communities right around us.

If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend that you watch a new documentary film called “A Place at the Table,” which tells the story of several American families and their struggle to give themselves decent food. This movie is available for free at Xfinity on Demand and I strongly urge you to see it.

As I said, obesity and hunger are actually related problems. Buying healthy fresh ingredients is actually more expensive than buying sugar and salt-filled fast food and snacks. Even for middle class families, and especially for working parents who have little time to prepare healthy meals, a diet almost guaranteed to make the family fat is difficult to avoid.

G3 has been working on this problem in many ways, with exercise classes, health and nutrition talks and other programs. Most recently, G3 instituted a 10-week program at the Kennedy Center in Willingboro to teach children and their parents about a healthy lifestyle. Most important, the program is designed to be fun, including dodge ball, kick boxing, Zumba, cooking demonstrations and other activities that all participants will love. The classes are taught by a registered dietician and a personal trainer.

Working together, we can solve the obesity and the hunger crisis, here and throughout America. Let’s get started.
 

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