“Food desert,” “food security” and “food insecurity” were terms that Professor Jule Anne Henstenberg spoke about when she visited an online journalism class on April 17. Henstenberg is the Director of the Nutrition Program at La Salle University. She claimed that she has been studying nutrition for at least 35 years.
“I found the passion in high school because I was reading a lot about vegetarianism,” she said. Henstenberg also studies disease prevention and public health education.
Henstenberg defined a food desert as “an area without fresh produce options.” She claimed that the area around La Salle was a food desert before the Fresh Grocer supermarket was opened. Prof. Henstenberg described food security as having the physical and economic resources to access food. Food insecurity, on the other hand, is not having either of these resources.
Urging the students to start cooking their food instead of eating fast food or snacks from the corner store was another topic that Henstenberg addressed. She gave three main reasons why people do not eat healthy. No money, no cooking skills and no time were what Henstenberg credited to unhealthy eating.
Henstenberg gave another list of three, this one being the top three groups of hungry people in the world. Children, senior citizens and women were who Henstenberg claimed to be at the top of the hungry list.
At the end of the day, Professor Henstenberg has one main goal through the work that she does.
“Part of my goal here is to make access easier,” she said. Access to healthy food is a big problem in the Germantown area, so Henstenberg is in the right location in order to achieve her goal.
Dr. Edie Goldbacher, Assistant Professor of Psychology at La Salle University, talked last Thursday about healthy eating. She specializes in eating behavior, weight, and people who have weight or eating problems. Goldbacher also supervises a clinic at La Salle- The Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight Clinic, located on West Campus.
Dr. Goldbacher gave a PowerPoint presentation on such topics as the causes of obesity, such as environmental and behavioral factors. She noted that such environmental factors as availability of food, cost of food and the advertising of food products are all strong forces that could cause people to become obese. Mindless eating and ineffective eating patterns were the two behavioral factors that she claimed can cause obesity. “Genetics loads the gun, the environment pulls the trigger,” is what Goldbacher credited as the main cause of obesity, meaning genes have a role in the onset of obesity, but a person’s environment is the real factor.
The Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight Clinic was the next topic of Goldbacher’s discussion. Mostly every worker at this clinic is a student-in-training, whom are supervised by Goldbacher.
“We’re really providing an important service to members of the community,” she claimed. The clinic only serves members of the Germantown community, who are mostly middle-aged African-American women, according to Goldbacher.
The marketing of the clinic is an issue that the University of Pittsburgh alum addressed.
“We could use some help with that. A lot of times it’s word of mouth.”
Goldbacher also brought up the fact that obesity has increased since the 1990s. She also noted that weight bias/discrimination has increased by about 60% over the past decade.
“A lot of people can lose weight, but it’s hard to keep that weight off,” is what she noted towards the end of her discussion.
Supervising the clinic at La Salle and teaching her students is what Goldbacher is passionate about. Hopefully, she can help change the eating habits of some of the local community members.