In inflation-adjusted terms, the calories in soda pop and in French fries fried in soy oil and in chicken nuggets made with corn meal and corn starch … have all decreased in price in real terms over the past 35 years. What’s gone up dramatically in real terms is the price of fruits and vegetables, especially fresh fruits and vegetables — exactly the kinds of foods that kids don’t eat enough of.
Talk about throwing down a gauntlet.
In the March issue of Health Affairs, editor Susan Dentzer charges that “America is guilty of child abuse” for allowing almost one in three of its children to become either overweight or obese.
One of the causes of this obesity epidemic, she notes, is a U.S. agricultural policy “that has spurred production of cheap sugars and refined grains while doing little to encourage production of fruit and vegetables.”
The connection between our “cheap food” policy and our children’s alarming weight gain is explained in the current issue of Health Affairs by David Wallinga, MD, director of the Food and Health Program at the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. I spoke with him on the topic last week.