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Purchase and Serve Sustainably Grown, Healthy Food

Today, nutrition plays an important part in of the modern society. The globalization of a western diet based on excessive saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and processed foods, together with increasingly sedentary lifestyles, are contributing to epidemics in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in many countries.

Obviously, nutrition plays a vital role in enhancing the immunity of the human body and promoting human health. But what makes me worried is that, at present, the importance of nutrition as a scientific discipline has not come to the serious attention of the medical profession and the general public in Indonesia. The general public simply follows its conventional diet habits, without sufficient scientific guidelines. Therefore, the study of nutrition becomes one of the most effective ways to improve human health and the quality of life.

In relation to changes in the environment surrounding dietary habits that have occurred in recent years the promotion of food and nutrition education has become an important issue in maintaining people’s health both physically and mentally throught their lifespan and in nourshing humanity it self.

As we move into the post 2015 era of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the world faces many seemingly intractable problems. According to WHO, many low and middle income countries include Indonesia are now facing a ‘double burden’ of disease. While they continue to deal with the problems of infectious disease and under nutrition, they are experiencing a rapid upsurge in non communicable disease risk factors such as obesity and overweight, particuarly in urban settings. Malnutrition should not be one of them. Countries that are determined to make rapid advances in malnutrition reduction can do so, and the incentives to improve nutrition are strong. Good nutrition provides a vital foundation for human development, central to meeting our full potential. When nutrition status improves, it leads to a host of positive outcomes for individuals and families.

At present, the nutritional conditions of Indonesia citizens are far from being satisfactory. Malnutrition is rather common, people either display insufficient nutrition or overtake of certain nutrients. In rural areas, regions of poor economic conditions and ethnic minorities, the diseases resulting from insufficient nutrition are widespread. By contrast, urban citizens tend to show surplus nutrition, resulting in the development of chronic diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases.  According to Indonesia Nutrition Profile (2014) :

  1. Of the 24.5 million children under 5 years of age in Indonesia, approximately 9.2 million (37%) are stunded. These undernourished children have an increased risk of mortality, illness and infections, delayed development, cognitive deficits, poorer school performance, and fewer years in school.
  2. The mortality rate for children under 5 is 40 per 1,000 live births nearly 45% of these child deaths are attributable to various forms of undernutrition.
  3. Malnutrition undermines human capital and economic productivity and can limit progress in achieving at least 6 of the 8 Millennium Development Goals and targets set by the World Health Assembly.
  4. Investing in nutrition in Indonesia is essential for
the country’s development. Improved nutrition will significantly reduce child mortality, improve children’s school performance, and result in greater economic productivity for the nation.

The phenomenon of the lived experience of choosing a healthy lifestyle based upon an organic diet. Organic food has become very popular and as constituting lifestyle, a healthy way of eating.  The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed.

Organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by products.

Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.

Similar to many other countries, the counseling provided as part of growth monitoring and promotion may be absent or inadequate and greater training in nutrition for frontline workers is needed. By promoting and supporting nutritious, healthy lifestyle based upon an organic diet and organic food, localized sustainable food systems, we can  reduce their own immediate footprint while supporting food access and nutrition, thereby helping to foster the prevention of disease, a reduction in the health sector’s environmental health impacts and contributing to a longerterm reduction in the population’s need for healthcare. Such an approach can also help to create stable and growing markets for sustainable, locally grown food outside the health care sector.

Action items :

  1. Modify menus and practices to support healthier food puschases by buying locally produced and organic produce.
  2. Work with local farmers, community based organic and food suppliers to increase the availability of locally sourced, sustainably grown food.
  3. Encourage vendors and/or food management companies to supply food that is produced with out synthetic pesticides and hormones or antibiotics given to animals in the absence of diagnosed disease, and which supports farmer and farm worker health and welfare, as well as ecologically protective and restorative agriculture.
  4. Implement a step by step program to identify and adopt sustainable food procurement. Begin where minimal barriers exist and immediate steps can be taken, for example, by introducting organic fresh fruit.
  5. Educate and communicate as well as to community about nutritious, socially equitable and ecologically sustainable food practices and procedures.
  6. Minimize and beneficially reuse food waste. For instance, compost food waste or use it as animal feed. Convert cooking oil waste into biofuel.


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