A Quiet Pandemic
In a recent e-mail from Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire and multiple
essays on food ethics, he
suggested I may mention his forthcoming book on the "politics, ecology and ethics of eating".
I am impressed and inspired to
know that he is continuing to focus on this issue; it is the -quiet pandemic- of our time.
This came home to me again last week as we drove 1300 miles from Boulder, Colorado to north central Oklahoma.
At every stop, in gas stations, restaurants and retail stores we were shocked at the
obesity of relatively young people, especially very young women. This experience took me right back to
the lecture Michael Pollan gave last October 2, at the Land Institute, titled "The High Cost of Cheap
Food". He spoke clearly, to the point, and with humor of the use and misuse
of corn, corn oil and corn syrup to fatten cows and humans.
From Michael's talk came a realization that
the key to cheap soda drinks world wide is corn syrup, the key to cheap
fried food world wide is corn oil and the key to cheap hamburger (from cheap, fat cows in
feed lots) is corn meal. Thus, one might conclude,
the vast corn monoculture driven by agribusiness has initiated a health pandemic
(my wording, Michael Pollan calls it an "obesity epidemic").
And this week, for example, in the March 29 issue of the New York Times, the section on Personal Health
ran an article by Jane E. Brody
titled 'Diabesity,' A Crisis in an Expanding Country. She begins like this.
"I can't understand why we still don't have a national initiative to control what is fast emerging as the most serious
and costly health problem in America: excess weight".
And she concludes like this.
"Many changes are needed to combat this epidemic, starting with schools and parents..."
There is some very good writing on these issues, a few are listed here.
Link to Article -- Michael Pollan - The (Agri)Cultural Contradictions Of Obesity - NYT