The diet of Medellín’s lower class consists of a
surprisingly low amount of the recommended daily intake of fruits, vegetables,
and protein, a recent local study found. In addition, 15 percent of those surveyed said
they do not eat a meal after lunch.
The study, which was conducted via the Otro Sabor en Casa
program by the research center at the local university Colegiatura Colombiana, interviewed
1,152 people, most of whom were women or heads of households. Otro Sabor set up
stations in eight sectors of the city to interview people. The objective of the
survey was to understand the eating habits of the lower classes in Medellín,
where they buy their food from, and how they prepare it.
Only 15 percent of those interviewed say they usually eat
meat, while 20 percent eat vegetables on a regular basis. This lack of protein
derived from legumes and meat in one’s diet can lead to a lowered productivity
in school and at work, says head researcher Claudia Zuleta Ruiz.
As a result of the decreased consumption of healthy foods
like fruits and vegetables, people of the lower classes eat more carbohydrates,
starches, and chocolate, according to the research.
The study also noticed a shift towards the purchasing of
food in smaller shops instead of supermarkets, where people can buy small
portions of staples like oil, or one arepa at a time. More people are opting
not to cook at home and eating already prepared food. With more and more women
in the work force, female heads of households do not have the time or the energy
to cook elaborate, well-balanced meals anymore, researchers inferred.
After coming to these
conclusions, the Colegiatura Colombiana is trying to develop and implement
programs to combat the poor eating habits of lower class citizens of Medellín. The
programs seek to teach people how to cook healthy meals that incorporate
ingredients they are already familiar with and that don’t put a strain on their
budget. The next step will be to send out mobile kitchens to the lower-class
sections of the city where chefs will show residents how to easily prepare nutritiously