You know an article is important when you get links to it in multiple emails, tweets and facebook updates. We got numerous links to Saturday’s Fixing a World That Fosters Fat, in the business section of the New York Times. And it truly is an interestin g piece, touching upon a critically important question:
WHY IN THE WORLD ARE WE [collectively] GETTING SO FAT?
Before we even get a chance to respond, the article provides an answer:
[Dieting and exercising] won’t work on their own without seismic societal shifts, health experts say, because eating too much and exercising too little are merely symptoms of a much larger malady. The real problem is a landscape littered with inexpensive fast-food meals; saturation advertising for fatty, sugary products; inner cities that lack supermarkets; and unhealthy, high-stress workplaces.
In other words: it’s the environment, stupid. read more…
We couldn’t agree more. There are too many daily cues that trigger food consumption in this country.
The wonderful efficiencies of scales that made automobiles, TV sets, and computers accessible to the average Jane & Joe, worked fantastically in the food industry too. From a hungry country in the 1930′s, the US became, within less than 100 years, the fattest.
Problem is that government policy is still directed at solving the malnourishment of the 1930′s, for example in the form of silly subsidies for the mother of High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn.
As a result of a misaligned government policy, the food industry has optimized itself for providing as much food as possible for as low a price as feasible. We call this efficiency. This cost cutting has led to the use of truly ingenious substitutions of real food ingredients with chemicals (artificial colors, for example. Vanillin instead of real vanilla, another example, HFCS instead of sugar). But the price of this efficiency has been a loss of of long term effectiveness: We are no longer effective at nourishing our nation.
The food machine, if you will, has made it cheaper today to eat junk food than it is to eat healthy food. A greaseburger costs less than an apple per calorie. If you’ve got a buck and you’re hungry, what will you choose?
Dr. Adam Drewnowski of the University of Washington has written many times on Nutrient Dense Foods, and recently published a paper on nutrition density of foods per dollar spent. Turns out there is a growing disparity – prices of nutritious foods rose almost twice as fast as those of non-nutritious foods in the years 2004-2008.
With innumerable options daily to reach out for dirt cheap junk food, The question shouldn’t be way are 200 million Americans overweight, rather how come not all 300 million of us are…