U.S. food policy turned Americans to fattest people in developed world
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Uploaded on Oct 24, 2010
American food policy has resulted in increasing rates of obesity, particularly among lower-class and minority populations.
"My father swears by this, he said back in the day, poor people were skinny, now poor people are obese," said Dr. Rani Whitfield of Family Practice and Sports Medicine.
In of one of the very few black neighborhoods in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, nearly everything on the shelves is made with genetically modified products. You can literally pick up anything and see the same genetically modified ingredients like "high fructose corn syrup."
In a higher income neighborhood, outside Whole Foods Market, customers balked at the thought of buying genetically modified products.
"It doesn't look healthy," said one shopper.
"I can't read half the ingredients on that thing and if I can't read it, I won't eat it," said another.
At the introduction of her Let's Move campaign to reduce obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama said: "Between what's in our food and how much we eat, Americans now consume more calories, fat and sugar today than ever before."
Obama has made childhood obesity her main issue to tackle during her time as First Lady. With one in every three kids obese in the US, childhood obesity is becoming more serious than adult obesity. She is encouraging Americans to plant gardens and eat healthy foods.
"It's ironic that on the one hand, Michelle Obama is planting an organic garden, on the other hand President Obama has put Michael Taylor in charge as the US Food Safety czar. Under Michael Taylor's watch, the FDA said no testing necessary at all, no labeling on GMOs. He later went on to become the vice president for Monsanto and now he is in charge of the safety of the US food supply. In addition, Obama has placed many key pro Monsanto or key GMO people in key positions in the USDA and elsewhere," said biotech analyst Jeffrey Smith.
These former Monsanto executives are the people making key decisions, not only for the American food supply but also for the American products exported to the world.
"They are supposed to be protecting the people, but what it seems to me is the Department of Agriculture is protecting and promoting Monsanto," said Phil Geertson.
What's left of America's organic farming industry is familiar with Monsanto's stranglehold on the US market. Phil Geertson of Geertson Seeds in Idaho took Monsanto to the Supreme Court because of claims its Roundup Ready Alfalfa seeds were contaminating his farm lands.
David Snively, the general counsel for Monsanto, said: "This product will be out there, so farmers need to coexist."
Geertson lost the case and Monsanto won. Winning means losing to the world market, especially when the European Union and other Western nations like New Zealand refuse American food products because of their ingredients and the lack of labeling.
"It's incredible what is going on," said Geerton.
Obesity, corporate takeover and the future of America's health...these are all looming concerns as Americans continue to bite into genetically altered foods. It's a lot to swallow for a country where there's an abundance of food and an increasing waistband stretching from high echelons of the government to your dinner table.
Why obesity is a national security threat.
"An army travels on its stomach," said Napoleon Bonaparte.
But what happens if the stomach gets too big to drag?
Congress is passionately debating whether open homosexuality is compatible with military service. But even as this particular culture war seems headed to resolution, a new emerging cultural divide is tearing at military efficiency: obesity and overweight.
In 2008, some 634 military personnel were discharged for transgressing "don't ask, don't tell." That same year, 4,555 were discharged for failing to meet military weight standards.
Young adults "too fat to fight"
Military weight standards are not especially demanding. Male recruits younger than 27 must have a body-fat percentage below 26%. That's twice the fat you'd expect in a young man in peak physical condition.
Yet even the relaxed 26% standard is too stringent for modern America. More than 9 million young Americans -- about one in four -- are too overweight to enlist, a recent report found.
Serving personnel who exceed military limits are offered counseling, nutritional programs and other weight-control assistance. Discharge is very much a last and unwelcome resort.
By the military's own numbers, some 61% of active-duty personnel were above ideal weight in 2007, up from 50% in 1995.
The U.S. military reflects the society of which it is a part. Americans are gaining weight, and the gain is steepest among the young.
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