I’ve heard that U.S. government farm subsidies are contributing to obesity and poor nutrition from many sources. I thought I’d look into it and see what I could dig up. What I found surprised me. In his article in Environmental Health Perspectives, The Fat of the Land: Do Agricultural Subsidies Foster Poor Health?, Scott Fields writes that while farm subsidies for corn, soy and wheat are the norm, eliminating these subsidies likely would not result in much change in our health nor in the price of these products. (So why do we keep subsidizing them?)
HOWEVER, if the U.S. Department of Agriculture really wanted to help us out and eat healthier, experts recommend they channel those subsidies into production of fresh fruit and vegetables to encourage farmers to grow more of these more difficult to manage crops. (Apparently growing corn, wheat and soy is much easier than growing say broccoli, apples or kale.)
The relationship between farm subsidies and obesity is not clear to all. But the basic idea is that as sugary, fatty food is cheaper, people buy more of it and eat more of it. Can you image how tempted you’d be by a bag of chips if they cost $40!
Read the full article here.
- Farm Subsidies – An Expensive Weed That’s Hard To Kill (athomesense.com)
- Senate Rejects Cuts To Food Stamps, Farm Subsidies (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Editorial | Deconstruction: Where the Trough Is Overflowing (nytimes.com)
- End the farming entitlement (thegazette.com)
- Farm Subsidies: Wasteful or Just Unfair? (snspost.com)
- Crop insurance and conservation (thegazette.com)
- For a Healthier Country, Overhaul Farm Subsidies (scientificamerican.com)
- Farm Subsidies, the U.S. Budget Deficit, and the Doha Round (worldtradelaw.typepad.com)