Food Fight

From The Causal Effect of Education on Obesity: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws  by Michael J. Grabne, 2008:

Obesity rates have roughly doubled in the United States over the past 25 years, to
around 30% of the adult population – over 60 million people. Sixty-five percent of the population is either overweight or obese (CDC, 2006). Increases in weight beyond regular levels are associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and similar health problems. The direct and indirect costs of this epidemic have been estimated at $117 billion annually (NIH, 2006)2. Childhood obesity has grown alongside adult obesity, storing up problems for the future. By 2020 more than 40% of the US population is predicted to be obese, and 70% overweight (Ruhm, 2007).

Yes, look again that is an estimate 70% of the US population. Currently, the cost of agricultural subsidies is $20 billion a year.  Now look at what we subsidize:

2004 U.S. Crop Subsidies[19]
Commodity Millions of US$ Share
Feed grains, mostly corn 2,841 35.4%
Upland cotton and ELS cotton 1,420 17.7%
Wheat 1,173 14.6%
Rice 1,130 14.1%
Soybeans and products 610 7.6%
Dairy 295 3.7%
Peanuts 259 3.2%
Sugar 61 0.8%
Minor oilseeds 29 0.4%
Tobacco 18 0.2%
Wool and mohair 12 0.1%
Vegetable oil products 11 0.1%
Honey 3 0.0%
Other crops 160 2.0%
Total 8,022 100%

Do you see actual vegetables on there any where?

As for me, I know I carry around an extra 10 to 15 pounds that I don’t need. I know some of you out there will gasp in horror when I say this, but my body is best carrying 120 – 125 pounds at 5’7″. See for yourself, not scary:

The frightening thing is that many people will never know what weight their bodies feel best at. I’m not just talking about adults here, the research above discusses childhood obesity. We have an epidemic of  in this country and because of it I think that our view of what is a  normal body is tragically skewed. Some of it is our life-style. When I took a sit down job two or so years ago I got a taste of how most of America lives.

I work in a food wasteland. I gained 20 lbs. in a very short time. Coming from a life where I kept pants until they fell apart, I have a sweater that I got when I was 15 years old, this was life changing for me. Yet people still go around telling me I’m still too skinny or, in some cases, I finally look “healthy”. To my mind this is crazy talk. I look fat. Is this some eating disorder? I don’t think so, I think I live in a country where 65% of the population has eating disorders. I know that sounds harsh, but….well, it is. I’m not going to fucking sugar coat it for you.

I can hear some of you saying, “but I just don’t like that kind of food.” Have you ever really eaten it? Let me remind you – This is real food:

Go to the store and count the people who could stand to loose 20 lbs. or more. Look around you at the bellies, the muffiin tops, the double chins, and look at what is in their carts. Then look at the chart again. How many of those thing are produced by ingredients that are subsidized by the government? How many are not? You don’t need a college degree, an above average IQ, or some spin data from us liberal food freaks to understand. If you can boil water you can figure this one out.

This movie takes a look at the beginnings of governments subsidies for food as well as the beginnings of the organic food movement as part of the radical social revolutions of the 1960’s. Just a word of warning, it may make you want to eat…vegetables.


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