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U.S. Farm Subsidy Program Adds to Worsening Obesity Trends

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Organic Transitions page, Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Agricultural policies in the US are contributing to the poor health of Americans, and, specifically, government-issued agricultural subsidies are worsening the US obesity epidemic, concluded a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

At the root of the issue?

"Government-issued payments have skewed agricultural markets toward the overproduction of commodities that are the basic ingredients of processed, energy-dense foods," the researchers wrote.

This includes corn, wheat, soybeans and rice, which are the top four most heavily subsidized foods.

By subsidizing these, particularly corn and soy, the US government is actively supporting a diet that consists of these grains in their processed form, namely high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), soybean oil, and grain-fed cattle - all of which are now well-known contributors to obesity and chronic diseases.

Despite this widespread knowledge, public health officials have had little to say about this agricultural practice, yet it seems quite clear that they should. With the 2013 Farm Bill set to be finalized by the end of September 2013, this could be a key time to implement important policy changes in the near future.

The Farm Subsidy Program Is Junk - Literally

The US farm subsidy program is upside down, subsidizing junk food in one federal office, while across the hall another department is funding an anti-obesity campaign. This hypocrisy shows just how broken and wasteful our regulatory system really is.

Farm subsidies bring you high-fructose corn syrup, fast food, junk food, CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), monoculture, and a host of other contributors to our unhealthful contemporary diet.     


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