Hi everybody

You’re probably familiar with my name if you read the diaries. BooMan has kindly proposed that I post on the Front Page as well and I am honored to be able to do so.

Being in Europe, I expect to initially use the privilege during the “graveyard shift”, in the morning for me (thus the second part of the night for you, after even the hard core nightpeople have gone to bed), but I thought I’d give you a light tidbit from Paris to start off this new career for me…

And what could be more quintessentially French than good food?

Actually, we are beginning to face, with a few years’ lag, the same obesity epidemic crisis as in the US. As can be expected, it is especially worrying for the young generations, a growing proportion of which are overweight, for much the same reasons as everywhere else: industrial food, TV-meals, snacking, unbalanced diets….

But we’re fighting back! As this story in the Guardian shows, it is all a question of education:

“We don’t impose, we don’t ban, we don’t stigmatise,” said Agnes Lommez, coordinator of Fleurbaix-Laventie Ville Santé (FLVS), a food and nutrition project that has been running in what are two small neighbouring towns (combined population: 7,500) since 1992.

“What we do is inform and explain, as concretely as we can, what foodstuffs are, what they’re made of, what effect they have, how best to prepare them, how best to combine them, and what constitutes a healthy diet. We never talk weight or size; we talk health.”

Manifestly, it works. And before anyone asks what it costs, the budget for FLVS’s entire educational and public information campaign – excluding the accompa nying scientific research, a useful but optional and expensive extra – is €2.5 (£1.75) per person per year.


Because if you get kids at that age, you have them for life, said Ms Lommez: “We have young men, university students, calling us up these days and saying, ‘Hi, you probably don’t remember me, but I was one of the first kids in the project, 10 years ago. Well I’ve got this girlfriend and, um, her diet’s a catastrophe. She hasn’t got a clue. There isn’t a little course you could give her?'”

Do read the rest, it’s really instructive – and is probably easily replicable elsewhere. The short version: care about what you eat!

Comments and meta-comments on this first story welcome!

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