Whether it’s families sharing a meal at home, friends dining out, or groups marking a joyous occasion, food’s communal role transcends cultures, geography, and generations. Beyond the pleasure it brings, food keeps us alive — but it can also, over time, make us sick. And, while some communities have the wherewithal to reap the social and health rewards of nutritious meals, the reality for others looks much different. More than 38 million people in the U.S. are food insecure. For many more, healthy food is hard to find, or to afford. Facing strained budgets and limited options, they have little choice but to subsist on the processed, high-sodium, sugar-enhanced foods that contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other ailments that compromise health and shorten lives.
Simply put, our food system is imbalanced. We produce enough to feed everyone, yet many go hungry. We know what foods keep people healthy, yet in communities already facing disadvantages of poverty, discrimination, and environmental injustice, nutritious, affordable foods are elusive. UCLA Fielding School of Public Health students, faculty, staff, and graduates know it doesn’t have to be like this. The pages that follow show some of the many ways UCLA Fielding community members are working to ensure universal access to diets that are affordable, nourishing, culturally appropriate, and sustainable.
Haroutune K. Armenian, MD, DrPH Professor-in-Residence, Epidemiology; Thomas R. Belin, PhD Professor, Biostatistics; Pamina Gorbach, DrPH Professor, Epidemiology; Moira Inkelas, PhD Associate Professor, Health Policy and Management; Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, PhD, MN Professor Emerita, Community Health Sciences; Cathy Lang, PhD Director for Research Administration; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Community Health Sciences; Michael Prelip, DPA Professor and Chair, Community Health Sciences; Beate Ritz, PhD Professor, Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences; May C. Wang, DrPH Professor, Community Health Sciences; Zuo-Feng Zhang, MD, PhD Associate Dean for Research; Professor, Epidemiology; Yifang Zhu, PhD Associate Dean for Academic Programs; Professor, Environmental Health Sciences; Frederick Zimmerman, PhD Professor, Health Policy and Management; Joana (JoJo) Fernandez and Geneva Vogelheim Co-Presidents, Public Health Student Association; Lori S. Pelliccioni, JD, MPH '96, PhD '02 President, Public Health Alumni Association
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