Shokuiku Vol.1 – Why do we need food education?

Japanese modern lifestyle

Hi, it’s Ayumi. Have you heard about Shokuiku? It means “food education”.

In Japan, the “Food Education Basic Law” was enacted in 2005. There are various issues behind the legislation, such as irregular eating habits, anxiety about food, health problems, and lack of a spirit of valuing food.

What can we do now? To know each problems and do the part that we can!!

I am studying food education and I’d like to convey the importance of food. So from now on, once a month, I will introduce my knowledge about food in a column as a food education series. Share the importance of food with your family and children too!

Shokuiku, here we go!

Why do we need food education?

Because there are so many problems. To solve or improve the situation, we need to learn and improve our knowledge of the dietary situation of modern society. Check out the issues around us now.

Social change

First, our life has been changed. In the past, we lived in three generations of a family, but in recent years, the proportion of “families of parents and their children” and “singles” has increased.

In addition, women are busy with work, and children are not at home at night due to cram schools and lessons. Family time is scattered.

Opportunities for communication with someone at the table are reduced. Eating alone tends to result in a easy food or coarse diet, and lack of nutritional balance is a problem.

In addition, the use of cooked foods at supermarkets or convenience stores is increasing rapidly. Frozen and processed foods are convenient and easy to use, but you have to be careful if you are using really safe ingredients.

Meals fill not only the stomach but also the mind. With the changes in society, it may cause that the joy of eating has been forgotten such as talking over the food with someone or tasting the fresh and nutrition food.

Disordered eating habits and health problems

You can easily get any food at the supermarket or anywhere. On the other hand, obesity due to overeating and associated lifestyle-related diseases is increasing.

Lifestyle-related diseases are caused by inappropriate diet, lack of exercise, excessive drinking, or accumulation of unhealthy lifestyles. It results diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer. As these progress, they becomes a life-threatening risk such as heart disease or stroke.

Lifestyle-related diseases are the No.1 cause of death in Japan. We need to review our eating habits.

In addition, many young people don’t eat breakfast nowadays. Or only sweets and fruits or only supplements. Reasons are lack of time, lack of hunger, or sleepiness.

Breakfast is an important meal to raise your body temperature, replenish your body and brain, and start your day energetically.

If the whole family doesn’t eat well, there may be health problems such as lifestyle-related diseases.

Anxiety about food safety

While food is enriched, there are many concerns about food safety.

Have you ever heard about “food labeling counterfeiting” or “residual pesticides”? According to a questionnaire conducted by the Food Safety Commission, 60% of people answered that they were concerned about food safety.

There is growing interest in how to reduce anxiety factors such as food poisoning, food additives, radioactivity and pesticides. We don’t know what to believe anymore because there are bad guys who take advantage of it.

Don’t be swayed by information unnecessarily, let’s know what kind of risk there is.
It would be nice if the distance between consumers and producers could be closer. It is important that consumers understand the hardships at the production site more and producers try hard for the health of people.

The world’s dietary information

Let’s look at the relationship of food in the world. Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate has not reached 40%, and most food is imported from overseas. This means that imports may stop due to export restrictions by troubles such as natural disasters or conflicts in foreign countries. We need to realize the risks of continuing to depend on foreign countries for much of our food.

In addition, mass imports of food emit a large amount of CO2 related to the transportation of airplanes, ships, trucks, etc., which has a big impact on the environment.

On the other hand, the amount of food waste is a problem in Japan. While relying on food from overseas, about 26 million tons of food are discarded annually in Japan. It is worth 30% of food consumption.

There are about 800 million people in the world who are undernourished and unable to eat satisfactorily. With the world’s food aid amounting to about 3.9 million tons, Japan is throwing away more than six times that amount of food.

Large amounts of leftover food and food waste are major issues we must address.

What we will learn?

There are major 3 parts in shokuiku study.

1. Develop the ability to choose what to eat

Develop the ability to choose foods that will keep you and your family healthy. Let’s study together what to choose because in a modern day, there are full of vegetables, convenient processed foods, cheap foods, and various foods that are available all year round!

① Use seasonal ingredients

There are four seasons in Japan. Ingredients that match the season are nutritious.

In addition, you can feel the seasons at the table and your heart will be enriched.

② Identify food safety

If you know the labeling standards and meaning of food labels, you can choose the one that is safer and more suitable for your purpose.

In Japan, organic foods that have cleared strict rules have the JAS mark, which is a guide.

2. Acquire the ability to interact with people through food

Communication created through meals grows sociality and cooperation, and greatly grows children. It also gives the elderly the joy of living. Let’s increase the number of “eat together”!

The current food education promotion plan aims to eat meals(breakfast and dinner) together with the family at least 11 times a week. How much are you?

①Cherish the time at the dining table

Let’s convey the importance of food to children who do not eat breakfast. Tell the names and the efficacy of the food. Care and invite a lonely person.

②Inherit the table manner and food culture

Let’s take pride in each food culture and pass it on to the next generation.

3. Think about the food of the earth

Food issues need to be addressed not only at the table, but also at the underlying issues and the environment. Be aware of sustainability and biodiversity where all living things can coexist with.

①Know the problems caused by low self-sufficiency

Promote local production for local consumption! It will be healthier and will reduce CO2.

②Think about the connection between food and the environment

We can review our lives and start with what we can do. No waste food, water or energy.

Let’s think of eco-cooking.

I am finishing the introduction of shokuiku. I will tell more detail about “Develop the ability to choose what to eat” in the next column.

To be continued..!

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