farm policy in the US & obesity: who is to blame?

“Is U.S. Farm Policy Feeding The Obesity Epidemic?”

Interesting tidbits from this article:

…environment isn’t shaped by farm policy nearly as much as it is by food processors and marketers.


For example, even when corn prices doubled, the price of corn flakes barely moved. That’s because food ingredient costs are miniscule compared to other expenses. On average, less than one in five dollars consumers spend on food actually goes to farmers and ranchers.



The net effect of the whole set of farm supports is to make food more expensive and actually to discourage obesity.


What I don’t agree with:

“Companies are really competing very aggressively to sell their food and not somebody else’s food,” Wooten says. “And that’s creating more and more food that Americans are eating, and as a result, we’re gaining a lot of weight.”


I’m not really following this x (competition)–>y (more food)–>z (obesity) logic here. And I don’t agree with her simplifying the argument down to, “Americans are fat because companies are (aggressively) competing” and I’m not sure that competition is actually producing vast amounts of food, so much that it’s resulting in Americans eating more. I’m not denying advertising as a cause, however, claiming competition as a significant contributor to American obesity? As a stand alone cause I find little sway in this particular piece of the argument.


Overall, an interesting read and something that will have me looking at the effects of U.S Agricultural Policy different from now on.


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