Cheap Food And Obesity
Research has concluded the main cause of America’s obesity epidemic is that food has become too cheap and easy to get. The findings challenge conventional wisdom about obesity in the U.S., shifting the focus from sedentary lifestyles to the economics of eating. “It isn’t just the fact that we may be eating more high-calorie food, but we are eating more of all types of food,” says Roland Sturm, a senior economist at the nonprofit research organization RAND.
Researchers also determined that Americans are spending a smaller share of their income on food than they did decades ago. In the 1930s, for example, 25 percent of Americans’ disposable income went to food, as compared with today’s 10 percent—making food cheaper for this society than any other society in human history. Meanwhile, since 1970, there has been an average per person increase in calories of 20 percent. Sturm said the solution is not to make all food more expensive, but to make food healthier such as making fruits and vegetables less expensive than junk food, perhaps with government subsidies.
It’s somewhat disturbing that you can buy 4 double cheeseburgers off of a well-known “Dollar Menu” for less than you can a single healthy salad at the same establishment.