Jamie Oliver has proved that he'll do just about anything to provide public school children with healthy school lunches and further his healthy food crusade around the world. He dressed up as a giant pea pod to sell his healthy lunch program to school children. He overloaded a dump truck with processed fat to show parents the crap their kids eat at school. He even filled a school bus with 57 tons of sand to show them how much sugar their kids were consuming.
Time and time again, Oliver has demonstrated that he's not above doing big, attention-getting stunts for his cause. And his latest one, which involves an unlikely ally, the United Nations, raises the bar even higher.
Oliver has written an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, urging him to help end the world obesity crisis. Specifically, he tells the Secretary General that "one in 10 people in the world is obese" and that "in the few minutes that it takes you to read this letter, more than 25 of our fellow human beings will have died from obesity and diet-related diseases." Those are some pretty staggering statistics.
Partnering with the United Nations to solve the obesity crisis might seem counterintuitive; after all, the UN has been challenged since its inception to deal with hunger issues -- i.e., provide aid to countries that lack food, not have too much of it. But Oliver makes a strong case as to how hunger and obesity are more connected than you might think. Regardless of whether people are hungry or obese, they're malnourished -- and therein lies the danger:
If the world continues to lose its national food traditions and cooking skills, and with them the knowledge which helped our grandmothers to nourish and feed our families with fresh, economical, balanced meals, we will only be left with one option: a global diet of fast and processed food and drink. And all the research is shouting loudly that it’s when fast-food becomes every meal, every day, that’s when we start getting into difficulties.
Oliver's solution? It's simple really. It's what he's been saying from the beginning: Educate people about how to make healthy choices and, hopefully, the rest will fall into place. Until now, Oliver has been focused on getting this message out to people in the United Kingdom and America; with this letter, his crusade has gone global. We'll see if this stunt is crazy enough to work.
Image via Jamie Oliver