Sunday, January 11, 2009

Misplaced Subsidies and Obese Children

The Edible Schoolyard Program may take a long while to catch on in every corner of the country. In the meantime, the present ailing economy will likely induce most school districts - and, indeed, most consumers - to make poor food choices in the interest of maximizing their food dollar. Our exceedingly strange system of agricultural subsidies (corporate welfare) supports just those poor choices, favoring producers of such things as processed grain, corn syrup, and livestock while discouraging producers of fresh produce and fruits, such that the more "energy dense" a food is - the more laden with sugars and fats, that is - the cheaper it will be per calorie on the supermarket shelf. It is possible, at least in the short term, for an adult American to get his required calories for under a dollar per day, consuming a diet of, say, prepared cereal or canned chili, whereas a diet that delivers the same calories in a moire healthful and various form can cost orders of magnitude more. As one report notes, for instance, the sugar in fresh raspberries costs nearly 100 times more than refined sugar cane - but imagine the savings in long-term health care costs.

Do yourself some good: read this.

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