Does your zip code matter more than your genetics?
In this section of Seattle Organic Restaurants I'm going to talk about obesity rate in different states in America. Studies show that 37% of Americans are overweight and 27% are obese and obesity can cause a wave of chronic diseases that can have negative impact on the health and well being of United states as a nation.
"The fact is that the environment around us is so hostile that one can easily eat themselves into obesity"
At the end of the 18th century we decided that if we wanted to be strong both militarily and economically we had to make food relatively cheap and inexpensive. During 70s and 80s when the farmers couldn’t produce enough corn to meet the public demands the government subsidized corn. Within few years farmers were making more corn than the public consumption.
In order to keep the government subsidy the farmers decided to exploit the subsidy law and genetically modify corn to high fructose corn syrup. At the same time, the food industries found out that it was very cost effective to use both corn and soy in all their food products. The farmers also started fattening up their cows and chickens with hormones, GMOs, antibiotics and corn. Maybe for the last 100 years we haven’t changed the biology and DNA of human beings but the environment around us has definitely changed. In the last few decades our food supplies have been industrialized and at the same time there has been a major change in our life style.
More than 75% of Americans drive to work and most of the school children are driven to school every day instead of walking. Our physical activities have decreased drastically as a result of machinery life style while we are consuming more food than before. We are becoming so much dependent on the emails and smart phones that we do not even walk in an office to talk to one another. The fact is that the environment around us is becoming so hostile that it's easy to eat yourself to obesity. There are no more family meals and most families do not have time to cook. Today Americans are eating 600 more calories than 10 years ago and sugary drinks are the number one source of calorie increase in our diet.
How can economy contribute to obesity?
The fact is that the rate of obesity is much higher in low income communities than rich or middle class. It’s not just about money when you are poor but the fact that you are being exposed into many factors that are harmful for your health.
For example children in poor neighborhood do not have a lot of physical activities simply because they do not have any gym, any parks or safe places to play. A super market in a poor neighborhood sales chips, sodas and candy which is more sugar, fat and salt with no nutritional value. Unfortunately many kids in low income neighborhoods are raised on soda and a bag of chips for a little over one dollar. The truth is that one out of three kids born after 2000 are obese in America. Life expectancy in low income communities is much lower than rich or middle class neighborhoods. As a matter of fact the obesity rate goes up as income goes down and the most obese states are the states with the least income. Poverty is a man made problem, so is obesity and by looking deeply into the root of the problems we can come together as a community and change that.