Australia seems to have recognized what officials in Huntington, Virginia, were fighting against. “…obesity is killing us” Premier Anna Bligh is quoted as saying when discussing plans for Jamie Oliver’s “Ministry of Food” to come to the Queensland town of Ipswich.
Obesity and poor diet are not just problems in the United States– it’s a problem around the world. A Sydney University study reports that two-thirds of men and 50 percent of women in Australia are overweight or obese. Jamie Oliver has said that obesity is the number one killer in Australia. These are not numbers that Jamie can take lightly. He is passionate about educating, improving diet, and saving lives.
Jamie also had a lot of positive things to say about Australia and why he is excited to set up a kitchen in Ipswich. Jamie raves that there are plenty of cooking shows, some of the best chefs in the world, incredible produce, and the people of Australia are open-minded about cooking. As the ‘Naked Chef’, Jamie is known for using fresh ingredients to prepare easy meals. The Australian produce should be wonderful for him.
Unlike with his projects in Great Britain and the United States, there seems to be no plans for a reality television show based in Australia. The focus will be on his instructional kitchen in the town of Ipswich, teaching visitors how to cook with a focus on preparing fresh and simple meals. The kitchen in Queensland will also include an outreach truck to take lessons directly into communities further from Ipswich.
The Queensland government has dedicated the equivalent of $2.5 million US dollars to help fund Jamie’s Kitchen for the next four years. With the support of the Queensland government and a time period that allows the project to fully establish itself, perhaps we will see tangible evidence of behavior change and an improved diet in Australia.