NYC’s Mayor Eric Adams emphasizes the importance of food education
Teaching young people about the positive impacts of a healthy diet can make a difference
New York City's Mayor Eric Adams is an enthusiastic proponent of educating young people about healthy food and nutrition. We spoke to Mayor Adams about his vision, and how companies can also help children live healthier lives.
The current mayor of New York knows better than anyone the importance of healthy eating. Once upon a time, he also struggled with health issues, and was even diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Adams’ doctors told him it was a hereditary disease; his mother also suffered from it. But after adjusting his lifestyle and adopting a plant based diet, his diabetes was reversed, along with 35 pounds of weight loss. In return, he gained more energy and a renewed zest for life. Adams: “After changing my lifestyle in food, I learned my diabetes was not in my DNA. It was in my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
“If I had learned about healthy food and nutrition at a young age, I am sure I wouldn’t have had all those health issues later on in my adult life. Education about food starts at the moment when kids are born.” - Eric Adams
Educate people by educating children
Eric Adams: “There is a correlation between health issues and the lack of access to healthy food. In neighborhoods where many people suffer from asthma, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, you often see a large supply of unhealthy fast food at the same time. Especially in those neighborhoods we must help people by giving them access to healthy food. One of the options to do so is educate children in schools about growing and cooking healthy food. They will take that knowledge back home and so it will trickle down to their parents as well. I am convinced that we can push back our healthcare crisis if we start teaching our children how to eat and grow healthy food in the classroom.”
Three organisations that support a healthy diet for children:
Babefoods, helps children get accustomed to different tastes
Research shows that when children become more used to different tastes and textures at a young age, they will benefit later in life. With this in mind, Jasmine van der Weele developed a start-up she named Babefoods. Her organic baby foods have been on the market since September 2021, and utilize a process aimed at maximizing vitamin retention in her products. In 2022, Babefoods won the Baby Innovation Award for the most innovative company in the baby industry. Babefoods’ products are available through various European supermarkets and home delivery services.
Green Bronx Machine, creates eatable classrooms
Another well known changemaker is public school teacher Stephen Ritz. In his Bronx, New York classroom, Ritz teaches children how to grow and cook their own fruits and vegetables. Green Bronx Machine started with one classroom, but has expanded to more than 500 schools in 15 different countries. Mayor Adams is an important ambassador of the program. Adams: “It’s amazing for kids to watch something grow in their own classroom. Vegetables give them energy and life.”
Spoony, makes veggies fun
Phaedra Mensen is the founder of Spoony, a Dutch start-up that wants to make eating veggies fun for kids. Mensen’s background is in marketing and innovation; she’s also a mother of three daughters. Mensen: “It’s so weird: candybars, sweets cookies, they are all made to look super attractive for kids. Vegetables are not, they usually remain just vegetables, while more than 85% of children get far too little of it.” With Spoony, Mensen wants to make eating vegetables fun, using toys, puzzles and outfits in the form of veggies.
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