Lower prices for fruits and vegetables meant better health across the population, regardless of age, gender, race and ethnicity, lead researcher Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, an academic clinical fellow at Imperial College in London, tells us.
Researchers from the U.K. and Tufts University created a tool called the U.S. IMPACT Food Policy Model that included projections of U.S. demographics and cardiovascular death rates to 2030. They then combined the data with current and projected fruit and vegetable intake figures. The model allowed the team to simulate the effects of different policies on eating habits.
“We were able to take a given change of price, and [determine] what that change in price does to consumption levels,” says Stuttard.
The introduction of cheap, industrial food is both a blessing and a curse. Although more people can eat more diverse food more cheaply, the health cost is enormous.Industrial food nutrition is so degraded that medical anthropologists call obesity, along with heart disease, “the first diseases of civilization.”
If we examine the impact that Westernization has had on the physical health of previously uncontacted groups we see a consistent pattern of decline and degradation in direct proportion to the percentage of Western diet adoption.
Consider the Pacific Islands since World War II where the majority of people survived on fishing and other subsistence diets and were virtually free of cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease and strokes and diabetes. Since Westernization, however, obesity, diabetes and heart disease/stroke have skyrocketed, as demonstrated in Michael Curtis’ paper, “The Obesity Epidemic in the Pacific Islands” by Michael Curtis:
“More prevalent in urban areas, the health problems [obesity, etc] are less common in areas that have had little contact with Western civilization (Prior in Ringrose & Zimmet, 1979). In fact, Polynesians and Micronesians that have maintained a traditional diet have diabetes rates lower than those of Western populations.”
And these trends are certainly reflected in Western nations. For example, the drift in the U.S. over the last century to urban centers and away from farming has left city-dwellers dependent on cheap, unhealthy, manufactured food, while paying high prices for fresh food trucked in from the hinterlands.
New research shows that by reducing the costs of fresh produce by a mere ten percent, and raising the prices of unhealthy food by the same amount, deaths due to heart attack and stroke could be reduced by 2.4 percent and 4 percent respectively over just two decades.
Additionally the study shows that raising the price of sugary soft drinks while cutting the costs of grains would have an outsized impact on the lifespan of the poor.
Naturally, the people who benefit from the massive taxpayer giveaways like the sugar subsidy and the tax-enhanced industrialized food system (Big Agra) along with Big Agrochemical and Big Biotech want nothing to do with these ideas.
It’s time to take the fight to our congressmen and women and ask why we are paying to subsidize and speed up our own deaths.