Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why are you fat?

Nearly 14 percent of women in the world are considered obese, up from 7.9 percent in 1980. Among men, 10 percent are obese, up from 5 percent in 1980.

Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public policy at New York University, one of the leading nutritional experts who has written many books on the food industry, explains obesity rates started to rise in the 1980s, she says largely because of demands Wall Street placed on food makers.

Wall Street "forced food companies to try and sell food in an extremely competitive environment," she says. Food manufacturers "had to look for ways to get people to buy more food. And they were really good at it. I blame Wall Street for insisting that corporations have to grow their profits every 90 days."

 Large government subsidizes given to the corn, wheat, soybean and sugar industries allowed farmers to reap high returns on their crops. Farmers could grow these commodities cheaply and were encouraged by the food industry "to plant as much as they could. Food production increased, and so did calories in the food supply," Nestle writes. Inexpensive food encouraged more eating, and more eating led to bigger waistlines. "Today, in contrast to the early 1980s, it is socially acceptable to eat in more places, more frequently and in larger amounts, and for children to regularly consume fast foods, snacks and sodas" Since 1980 the index cost of fruits and vegetables has gone up by 40 percent. Whereas the index price of sodas and snack foods have gone down by 20 to 30 percent.

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