Jamie Oliver takes a very personal stance on food. As a chef himself, he's making it his mission to educate parents on what we're putting into the bodies of our children - and ourselves for that matter.
He hits on a number of really important points in this TED Talk. One is his claim that 10% of what we spend on healthcare is spent on issues related to obesity and how and what we put into our bodies. Healthcare is an obvious hot-button topic in this country, but it's hard to argue that we couldn't lower our healthcare costs across the board by tackling the issue of obesity head-on.
In my opinion, one of the biggest points Oliver makes (but kind of blows past very quickly) is portion size. We have gone absolutely crazy with portion sizes in this country. It seems to be one of the yardsticks with which we measure restaurant quality. Don't believe me? Read restauarant reviews and see if you can't find some mention in the positive ones about how big the portions were, or how small they were in the negative ones. One of the biggest changes anyone who eats out on a regular basis can make in their diet is to commit themselves to only eating half of their entree and bringing the other half home for a meal the next day. Try it, I promise you you'll notice a huge difference very quickly.
One of the items he spends quite a bit of time on is teaching people how to cook and how to source quality, local ingredients. Agreed. And part of this is related to the fact that we're no longer funding our schools to teach real life skills; home economics and shop & technology classes are always one of the first cuts we make when school funding is scarce. Yet these are classes that teach skills that EVERY student can use during their lives.
How we can allow a child to graduate from high school ensuring that they know trigonometry or chemistry but not how to change a tire or cook a healthy meal for themselves baffles me. Don't get me wrong; I'm certainly not advocating that trigonometry and chemistry aren't important and shouldn't be taught in our schools. My point, as is Jamie's, is that we need to take a look at the things that we ARE NOT teaching our children that are hugely important in their lives, and then take steps to incorporate that education both in the home and in the school.
BONUS: Child's Letter to a Newborn Baby Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity