How Congress Could Help Us Eat Better

Why do the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States keep get­ting fat­ter and sick­er?  One rea­son is that our fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is using our tax dol­lars to make bad food cheap, instead of mak­ing good food afford­able. It doesn’t have to be that way. Con­gress could decide to stop sub­si­diz­ing the pro­duc­tion of meat, dairy prod­ucts, and refined sug­ars and instead sub­si­dize the pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion of healthy foods, espe­cial­ly fruits and veg­eta­bles. On July 28, 2011, the Physi­cians Com­mit­tee for Respon­si­ble Med­i­cine issued a report explain­ing how Con­gress could go about doing that.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I saw the effects of our cur­rent agri­cul­tur­al sub­si­dies per­son­al­ly. I saw field after field of corn and soy­beans and alfal­fa that were being grown to feed farm ani­mals. I saw hard­ly any agri­cul­tur­al land ded­i­cat­ed to grow­ing plant-based food for human beings to eat. I saw hun­dreds of fast food out­lets, but only the occa­sion­al pro­duce stand. So it should come as no sur­prise that more than a quar­ter of the adults in Ohio are obese.

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