Gates Foundation Announces Initiative to Fight Hunger

The Gates Foundation is partnering with the UK Department for International Development to fight hunger and poverty in developing countries over the next 5 years. The partnership will support agricultural research projects, aiming to help boost the profit and yield of small farms within regions that receive funding.

A $40 million award will go to the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project at Cornell University, which is working to create varieties of wheat that are resistant to strains of stem rust disease. This disease has been running rampant throughout East Africa, threatening the world’s wheat supply. In addition, $3 million will be awarded to Diagnostics for All to develop inexpensive testing for small farmers to use to improve milk quality and quantity produced by their cows. It will also benefit the safety of cereal grains.

These projects are particularly impressive, because they aspire to solve long-term problems that threaten food security and production, rather than just increasing the amount of food available over the short term. 


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National Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps

The fight against hunger in the United States is getting new troops. 

The National Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps will be supporting anti-hunger nonprofits in 18 states. The larger goal is the empowerment of low income families to reduce the occurrence of food insecurity. It will help reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and build skills for the new appointees. 

This effort receives federal funding from the Department of Agriculture and Corporation for National and Community Service. 

This is a great step, that hopefully extends beyond these 18 states to all 50, and the numbers jump well beyond 44. But, it is important for the pilot program to demonstrate that it will make the difference. 


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Walmart continues to fight hunger

Recently, I wrote about Walmart’s efforts to fight hunger by making large donations to local anti-hunger agencies. The excellent news is that funds are being distributed already. 

$100,000 was provided to two organizations in Charleston, SC. This is particularly timely, as Charleston ranks 15th in terms of national hunger rate. More about their specific story can be read here

Utah organizations will receive $1,000,000 from Walmart to fight hunger. Most will go to the Utah Food Bank

Awesome to see that they are following through and getting their funds dispersed to the organizations that need them quickly. 

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Endobarrier alternative to gastric bypass

I don’t know anything about this, but wanted to make a quick note. I don’t endorse surgical weight loss of any kind unless it is medically indicated for a health condition. I don’t debate its efficacy or safety, it is really just an idiosyncratic personal position on the matter. 

That being said, this sounds interesting because it is less invasive, while maintaining the same physiologic principle as gastric bypass. The small plastic band prevents food absorption, and as we all know, less absorption means less storage of excess calories. It will be interesting to watch as the obesity epidemic continues to present a burden to health how medical technology attempts to address the common inability to maintain or return to healthy weight through diet and exercise. 

The sample size of 15 is way too small to make any conclusions about, but with promising results, it was interesting enough to make a note of. 

I will eventually be doing a more comprehensive review of surgical weight loss on the main Lose Weight Fight Hunger site, but until then you can check out the Endobarrier overview page

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What if your interest rate was tied to your weight loss?

Long gone are the days of getting a toaster with a new bank account. Now, in South Korea, one bank will give you control over your interest rate based on your achievement of your weight-loss goals.

Hana Bank has introduced “S-Line” savings product, which translates to “hourglass”. If a customer loses 5% body weight or has a gym membership, interest rates improve. This could be an important incentive to improving overall fitness, and offsetting expensive gym membership and encouraging people to go to the gym.

Woori Bank offers a different incentive, for bicycle commuting. The goal seems to be to improve health and decrease traffic congestion. The bank even offers bicycle insurance for free for members that choose this option. 

These developments are interesting reflections of corporate involvement in fighting obesity or capitalizing on public obsession with appearance, depending on your interpretation. Regardless, any incentive that helps motivate people to improve their health status and lose weight is a step in the right direction to me. It will be interesting to see if these programs are successful, and implemented in other countries as well. 



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Campbell Soup to fight hunger and obesity directly

The country’s most well known soup manufacturer is going to address the nutritional and health needs of their closest and neediest customers. The company recently announced that they will be committing $10 million towards fighting hunger and obesity near their headquarters in Camden, New Jersey. With extreme poverty simultaneously occurring with greater than average incidence of childhood obesity. 

They outline plans of collaboration with community groups and attempting to improve the conditions that lead to hunger and obesity at the environmental level. Commercial and education prongs will be key features of the effort. 

It is very impressive to see such an American institution like Campbell recognizing and attempting to fix these problems in their own back yard. Hunger and obesity are coexisting more and more frequently, and if I lived in a state where hot-soup was more of a mainstay, I would definitely reach for Campbell’s next time. Epitomizing the lose weight fight hunger spirit indeed. 

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Something to think about this Valentine’s Day

We all know what the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts are. Overpriced roses, half your body weight in a heart shaped box of chocolates, those little heart candies with writing on them that actually taste terrible, etc. Valentine’s Day is possibly one of the more widely recognized holidays in the United States because of its purely secular and apolitical nature. Everyone wants to be loved. 

The expression of that love is interesting to consider. The “meaning” of a gift is usually related to the relative cost of the gift. If Steve Jobs gives you an iPod, it doesn’t carry the same punch as getting one from your parents who worked extra shifts so you could have the gadget you pined for, for example. Gifts don’t always need to be grandiose expressions of the continued assault on your bank account or credit card, but, as this New York Times article states, “psychological and intangible” as well.  

Its not reasonable to expect people to abandon the flower shops, candy stores, teddy bear factories or jewelers, but you can’t blame me for putting the idea into the universe and seeing what happens. Maybe postpone the night out on the town until life has gone back to normal later in the week and help out at a food kitchen with your date or skip the chocolates this year and instead make a donation to the World Food Programme on your loved one’s behalf. These may not be the things that movies are made of, but can be rather touching for your partner to see. 

In any case, Happy Valentine’s Day from us at lose weight fight hunger


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