US agricultural policies could be increasing obesity

A failure by the US government to consider public health when formulating agricultural policies could be contributing to poor diets in the country.
This is the conclusion of a new study led by Dr Mark Eisenberg, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Canada.
Dr Eisenberg analysed statistics from 2004 that indicated around 96 per cent of American agriculture is dominated by just eight crop types. Soybean is especially popular among farmers as it receives a hefty subsidy from the government, but it is the source of 70 per cent of the fats and oils consumed by Americans on a daily basis.
While grants and loans given by both local and federal governments create jobs and help the economies of states with a heavy reliance on crops, such as Iowa and Nebraska, it could be the case consumer behaviour is heavily affected by the drop in prices these subsidies provide.
Caroline Franck, who was also involved in the study, said: “Tackling the policies that translate into food production and availability could be the most widespread preventive measure to address the obesity epidemic.”

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