As TED Prize director, I'm delighted to announce our TED Prize winner for 2010: a chef, writer, social entrepreneur and restauranteur who's transforming the way we feed our children and ourselves: Jamie Oliver.
Jamie has been a tireless crusader in his effort to focus the world's attention on better nutrition. In his still-young career, Jamie has already created 12 television series that have aired in 130 countries, and written 10 cookbooks that have been translated into 29 languages and sold almost 24 million copies in 56 countries. His School Dinners/Feed Me Better campaign pressured the UK government to invest $1 billion to overhaul school lunches, and he also founded the Fifteen Foundation, a social enterprise and chef apprenticeship that teaches disadvantaged 18 to 24-year-olds learn to work at the highest levels of the restaurant industry - and gain the confidence to succeed throughout life. Based in London, Fifteen Foundation has been replicated through franchising in Amsterdam, Cornwall and Melbourne. In 2010, a new TV series, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution USA, is to air stateside on ABC.
At the heart of Oliver's work is an assault on bad food and bad eating, keys to the current worldwide obesity epidemic that is wrecking the health of adults and children alike. The statistics are staggering: the CDC states that one in four Americans are considered obese. It is estimated that 43 percent of Americans, or 103 million people, will be obese by 2018, an epidemic of fat whose cost is anticipated to reach $344 billion per year. Obesity currently accounts for almost 10 percent of the yearly US health care costs, and that rate is expected to rise to 21 percent by 2018. WHO's latest projections indicate that, globally in 2005, approximately 1.6 billion adults were overweight and projects that by 2015, that figure will rise to 2.3 billion.
We at TED congratulate Jamie and look forward to learning about - and helping to manifest - his wish to change the world when it's unveiled at TED2010 in Long Beach, California, on February 10.
This latest TED Prize is also significant in another way. It marks our shift from awarding three annual prizes to one prize per year. After five years and 15 prizes, we have found that we can best serve the wishes the TED Prize has helped launch by remaining more deeply engaged in each one, and thus our decision to award just one Prize each year. Stay tuned...