There is one point of logic that has totally escaped me. Why, among all the things that we are required to learn in school, is nutrition not one of them. I can't think of any other topic that is so critical for people to understand at a deep level. Nutrition is not only at the core of our health and well-being, it is also a topic that will be relevant to us every day for the rest of our lives. It is more relevant than many of the specifics of history, mathematics, and many of the other topics we learn in school; especially if the topic is not related to work we will continue as an adult. Of course, these other topics are important to learn and help develop the brain, and should be learned, but likely will still be less useful than understanding how to feed the body to maintain health and prevent and heal disease. I am not advocating that we shouldn't learn these other topics, but that nutrition must absolutely be a core topic taught throughout school.
When I work with people, I start the education that was never taught to them. In fact, it was never taught to me; not in school growing up, nor in medical school. I did eventually become more aware of food and nutrition and improved my eating habits, but it wasn't until I studied it as a specific academic topic as an adult that my nutrition and health dramatically improved.
Nutrition knowledge would not be as critical if our food environment set us up for success; if the default was healthy food and you had to go out of your way (and spend more money) to eat in an unhealthy manner. But as we all know, this is very clearly not the case. I tell people how important it is to be food savvy and food literate, because the reality is that our environment sets us up for failure. At the core of this environment is a perverse situation where healthy food costs considerably more than unhealthy food. Since less healthy food costs less, those who cook our food outside of the home and need to make a profit for their business, will invariably serve you up a less healthy meal. And with people living busier and busier lives, eating food cooked and prepared by others (restaurants, take-out, packaged foods), occurs frequently.
In addition, if we had more savvy food consumers, this would drive demand for healthier food, which could ultimately drive food policy and food prices. For now, we must make as many inroads as we can, helping to educate and guide people on how to eat the foods that will allow their bodies to flourish. In the end, we can only hope that this becomes a serious academic topic that is taught throughout primary and secondary education. At a time when two-thirds of Americans are overweight, I can't think of a more important component to our education system.