Check out this article from BBC news entitled Overweight ‘top worlds hungry’.
Congratulations Fat People!
Looks like you’ve managed to keep all the good food for yourselves.
While the number of people in the world that do not get enough food to eat has been declining slowly (currently around 800 million), the number of overweight/obese people has skyrocketed in recent decades to top the nice round number of over ONE BILLION!! That’s billion with a “B”.
Obesity is the norm globally and under-nutrition, while still important in a few countries and in targeted populations in many others, is no longer the dominant disease.”
Well how about that? You’d think that because there is so much food to go around (so much so that the well-fed throws away close to half of it) that the numbers of hungry people would be going down fast. But you’d be wrong. I mean look at how fat these kids are:
…and this kid:
Oops… actually one photo features a distended stomach due to malnutrition, and one features… well, fat. Do you know which one is which? You get a twinkie if you get it correct.
the “burden of obesity”, with its related illnesses, [is] also shifting from the rich to the poor…”
WHOA! Does that sound familiar? (see fact #4)
Speaking at an Australian conference, US professor Barry Popkin urged governments to begin to develop better strategies to combat the problem.
food prices could be used to manipulate people’s diets and tilt them towards healthier options.”
His ideas include putting a tax on foods that are highly dense in empty calories (like soda), and to provide more subsides for fruit and vegetable production (I assume he’s talking about the vegetables that are grown for direct human consumption and not for processing or for cattle feed) so that there would no longer be such a huge difference in price between healthy food and crap.
At first read of this idea, I was very skeptical. An analogy would be to look at how higher fuel prices affect how much people drive. Some people welcome higher gas prices because they hope that people will begin to drive less. However, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that this is happening, despite prices going up 300% in the last 10 years in the U.S. (it’s still over twice as expensive in Europe).
Also, unfortunately, raising the prices of cheep food can be seen as discrimination against the poor. On the other hand, foods like bananas, apples, beans, lentils, pasta, rice, and potatoes are pretty dirt cheap. Compared to things like Hot Pockets and frozen pizzas, there’s not much of an excuse for poor people eating junk like this when there are healthier options they can afford. Of course if we’re talking about ‘prepared’ food, then yes, the junk is probably cheaper. Obviously getting five Totinos pizzas for five dollars is less expensive than making a pizza from scratch.
The professor acknowledges that a “fat tax” on junk food would probably not be acceptable. He suggests that we could reduce farm subsides on crops that will result in the production of those cheap foods. However, the logistics of determining what crops are used for what purposes seem daunting to me.