Approximately 400 people attended the Healthy People 2011 conference put on by Loma Linda University School of Public Health from March 8 to 9. With speakers ranging from physicians and public health experts to lawyers and policy advocates, the conference studied food from the angles of how people’s food choices are determined, and how in turn those choices affect not only their bodies, but also society.
Attendee Dr. Sarah Turner found the conference stressed the importance of community planning and policy. It also addressed points directly related to her work as a family practice and preventive medicine resident.
“It’s so applicable to the patient population we’re serving,” she said. “A lot of the time, lifestyle interventions are more economical and have improved health outcomes.”
Other topics included the slow food movement, the high cost of cheap food, food marketing aimed at children and adolescents, and the environmental costs of agriculture and the food industry. One key speaker was Mr. Jeffrey Smith, an author and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology—a world leader in educating the public and policy makers about health risks of genetically modified food.
“Overall, the conference was very informative and opened my eyes to the hidden secrets of the food industry,” said Mr. Patrick Scalzitti, an attendee.
During the conference, Loma Linda also hosted an expo with representatives from activist organizations, health organizations such as the American Heart Associations, public health agencies, and nutrition vendors.
Exhibitor Ms. Stephanie Georgieff, president of the Redlands, California, chapter of Slow Food USA, said that the Healthy People 2011 is the conference her organization would put on if it had the resources.
[Photo: Mr. Jeffrey Smith discusses genetically modified foods on the conference’s second day.]