Chef Jamie Oliver has devoted his career to fighting unhealthy eating—and you can see why: Global obesity has more than doubled since 1980. Each year, 2.8 million adults around the world die as a result of being overweight. On Saturday May 19th, the British TV star launches his latest effort, Food Revolution Day, a global campaign that asks you to think about eating right: host a food event serving organic foods, or a locally-sourced dinner party, or start a campaign at work or school. Check out foodrevolutionday.com for more ideas, and events in your city. Here’s Oliver on why you should join:
Metro: So…the obesity crisis: How did we end up here?
JO: The main issue is the western diet: it’s single handedly more responsible for damage to global health than anything else. In so many western countries, we have three generations of people who were never taught how to cook at home. Both parents were at work, food education at school is so shit, they can’t learn there. I’ve been in houses where kids only hydrate on fizzy drinks and show no interest in tap water.And technology, freezing techniques and processed foods have only made things worse.
Will the world ever get healthy again?
I actually think that multi-nationals and fast food companies are the best people to lead the change. If they chose to get behind healthy eating, they would do a better job than any other government or individual. If you thought the oil and petrol industry was complicated and causing wars, think again. The food industry is on another level. The problem is the corruption between food industries and governments. We need to address smaller issues like chicken farming or pink slime. Stop these products from ever being registered. How f---ing dare they?
And how will the Food Revolution Day help?
I’m not anti burger or anti pizza; I’m anti s--t food. With Food Revolution Day, I’m trying to get as many people as possible to stir the pot. We all need to become a little fussier about what we put in our gobs [mouths]. When you put something in your mouth, it’s a very personal thing that affects you straight away.
You’ve already tried to change North American food habits once. What makes you think that they will listen to you this time?
I expect nothing. People may not want me around but I don’t think I’ve ever wasted my time. I don’t give a shit if people think I’m crazy. North America is difficult as it’s where a lot of the unhealthy foods and brands are created. It’s the eye of the storm. Most countries eventually follow their trends, whether they like it or not.
Ultimately, though, do you think most Americans would rather go to McDonald’s than go to the gym?
Things need to change otherwise the whole country will come to a standstill. People won’t be mobile. It’s a question of national security. How can you train an army if the nation is obese? Progress will happen. They have no choice.
Because Food Revolution Day is an international effort, Metros around the world ran customized versions of this interview. Curious? Click away: