Wednesday, 26 November 2014

At the PAPSAC Conference at Harvard

I was invited by Professor Ray Goldberg, an 88 year old powerhouse, who wants people from Industry, Government, NGOs, and Academia, to create a better food system.

This is the second time that I have attended the meeting of PAPSAC, as it is called. http://www.hks.harvard.edu/centers/mrcbg/programs/sustsci/activities/program-initiatives/papsac

There was a wealth of discussion on making healthier food available to all in the world, in a safe and sustainable manner.  Members of PAPSAC spend 2 days discussing and pondering over these issues.

What struck me, is the amount of time and energy that US food system spends in making sure that the food is safe, and that there is no contamination.  Whereas, we here in India, routinely avoid eating certain kinds of food, since we are not aware as to whether we will suffer from the eating of the same. Or that we hear about contamination of food so often.

The Department of Nutrition at Harvard, publishes a super website, on what makes a nutritious meal.
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/

And they do research on diets all over the world.  One study they did, was the comparison of the traditional Tamil vegetarian diet, and the negative effects of introducing 'fast' foods on the public health.

There was another initiative, wherein, doctors are now prescribing fruit and vegetables for certain ailments, as opposed to medicines.  The University and some NGOs, are actively requesting doctors and hospitals, to incorporate, what we call 'naturopathy', into their prescriptions.

And very interesting websites, on the global burden of disease.
http://www.healthdata.org/data-visualization/gbd-cause-patterns

Our institutions must also bring together teaching, research and active engagement to make our environment a better place.