In fact, food defines, to a significant extent, the physical health of individuals (Foer). Food is essential for living and people receive nutritious elements with food. Therefore, the quality of food and food culture is very important. Healthy food naturally supplies humans with all essential elements on the condition that the healthy food is balanced. At the same time, healthy food may be insufficient for good physical condition of individuals, if they have poor food culture that may involve irregular meals, for instance. Therefore, healthy food needs the food culture’s backup because the food culture defines not only what people eat but also how they eat. Hence, the healthy food culture implies the complex, balanced nutrition and food habits that allow people to receive all essential elements and maintain them in a good physical shape.
In such a context, the development of the healthy food culture becomes another challenge because people do not always know what healthy food and food habits are. For instance, some researchers (Fraser, Singer) suggest the vegetarian diet as possible solution to the problem of obesity and other health problems related to the poor food culture. They argue that followers of the vegetarian diet are healthier compared to ”˜meat-eaters’ on the premise that fruit and vegetables do not contain fats, for instance, which may have a negative impact on individuals, especially, if people consume such fats regularly. Instead, the vegetarian diet provides individuals with vitamins and microelements which they need for the healthy life and for the maintenance of a good physical shape.
However, the vegetarian diet is rather a pitfall than a salvation from the deterioration of the public health caused by the poor food diet. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the vegetarian diet cannot fully replace the natural healthy diet for humans. By their nature, people consume diverse products, including not only fruit and vegetables but also meat, fish and other products of the animal world. In such a situation, the refusal from meat and fish, for instance, will lead to the deficit of vitally important elements, such as proteins, which cannot be fully compensated by the vegetarian diet. Therefore, such diet is not absolutely healthy, although this diet may be useful for people with obesity and other health problems.
The food culture should promote healthy food and positive food habits, while the food people consume regularly should be balanced. The balanced food implies that people receive all elements they need for living and maintaining their body in a good physical shape. The healthy food culture does not mean the exclusion of some products but it rather implies that products people consume should be safe for their health and balanced. For instance, the healthy food culture should involve regular meals, balanced diet which involves different products, including meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and other products which are natural and essential for humans. The healthy food culture can contribute to the steady improvement of the national health through the right and balanced nutrition and positive food habits.
However, the national health is not just the matter of the personal choice of each individual but also the matter of the socioeconomic standing of an individual because many people in the US cannot afford healthy food because this food is too expensive for them. Therefore, people cannot tolerate the healthy food culture on their own. Instead, they need the assistance of government agencies and public organizations as well as companies operating in the food industry because they actually define what people eat. First, the healthy food culture starts from education which teaches children as well as adults what the healthy nutrition is and what they should do to stay healthy. Second, the national food industry should operate in accordance to healthy food standards that have to be elaborated to promote the healthy food culture and to improve the public health. Finally, each individual should decide for him-/herself whether he/she needs the healthy food culture and healthy body or probably food habits they have are too strong for them to change.
Obviously, one of the major causes of numerous health problems, such as obesity, is the poor food culture and the change of the food culture to positive and healthy one will contribute to the overall improvement of the public health in the US. Mutual efforts of the entire nation can contribute to the improvement of the food culture and food habits and, therefore, to the improvement of the public health. Therefore, people should learn the healthy food culture. At the same time, they should have real opportunities to consume healthy food and to make the healthy food culture a part of their life. The latter is possible only on the condition that healthy food products will be available to all people at the affordable price.
Thus, today, the national health under a threat because of the epidemics of obesity and other health issues provoked by the poor food culture that dominates in the contemporary food culture of the US. The development of the healthy food culture is crucial for the improvement of the national health. However, the united efforts of the entire nation are needed to change the food culture of the nation and to make healthy food available to all Americans.