Who’s fault is it that we’re fat?

This NY Times article says that it is partly the fault of the government that we have an obesity problem in the United States. Don’t be confused: this does not mean that there is no personal responsibility when it comes to your own health and diet. What it does mean is that the most effective way to make everyone more healthy is through policies that support our health! D@mn, that is another chink in the armor of the whole “politics doesn’t effect my life” ideology.

Here’s a quote that sums up the point of the article:

…if you are eating on a budget, the most rational economic strategy is to eat badly — and get fat.

There is more to it than this, and the article does a good job of summarizing why and how a little known piece of legislation called “The Farm Bill” makes all of this possible by rewarding farmers for growing larger amounts of less healthy food:

The reason the least healthful calories in the supermarket are the cheapest is that those are the ones the farm bill encourages farmers to grow.

That idea is really, um, interesting. The conspiracy theorist in me, [and there is one in all of us,] says that maybe, just maybe, this is connected to people that spend money to convince the government that people need to be sick. Here are some examples

  • Lobbyists for Large Drug Companies, who make more money by keeping you less healthy so that they can treat your symptoms instead of the causes for your health problems
  • Lobbyists for Large Insurance Companies, who make more money by keeping you sick so you buy more insurance. These are also the people firmly against Universal Health Care.

Yes, there are eaters who think it in their interest that food just be as cheap as possible, no matter how poor the quality. But there are many more who recognize the real cost of artificially cheap food — to their health, to the land, to the animals, to the public purse. At a minimum, these eaters want a bill that aligns agricultural policy with our public-health and environmental values, one with incentives to produce food cleanly, sustainably and humanely. Eaters want a bill that makes the most healthful calories in the supermarket competitive with the least healthful ones.

I want the “eaters” referred to in this quote to be you and I. We want everyone to be clean and healthy, right? Why don’t we start today to invest $20 more dollars a week to buying healthy food. I know that may mean you have to give up 1 pair or shoes a year, but would you rather have new Jordans or a healthy prostate? You do the math.

As for political action, call your congress person. if you do not know your Representative or Senator’s phone number, you can call the Congressional Switchboard at 888.851.1879 and ask to speak to him or her about the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act.

One Love. One II.

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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