They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of this graph from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, it helps explain more than a thousand words. It helps explain why over 60 million adults are obese in America.
The next time you go shopping and wonder why it’s more expensive to stock up on healthy items vs. junk food, take another look at this chart. The U.S. Federal government spends less than 1% of its agriculture subsidy budget on fruits and vegetables. In contrast, Meat and Dairy receive a whopping 63% of the subsidies doled out by Uncle Sam while Grains and Sugar raked in 20% and 15% respectively. If we are going to get serious about health and nutrition in America, this needs to change.
In last week’s blog, we talked about the USDA’s new dietary icon, MyPlate. If we are serious about getting Americans to follow MyPlate’s recommendations, subsidies need to shift to make fruits and vegetables more affordable and within reach of all families, regardless of socio-economic status. You can guess who is already dragging their heels — the powerful food lobby. I can hear them kicking and screaming now. But this is a fight worth taking on. The health of our country depends on it!
What do you think of how the subsidy dollars shake out? What unintended consequences have resulted? Furthermore, what needs to be done to help fix our governments incentives for a healthy, safe food supply?