Monday, October 29, 2007

Doctors Say Farm Bill Contributes to Obesity

From the Kansas City Star:

“The real scandal in Washington is the farm bill,” said Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “Senators take millions from corporations that produce bacon, burgers and other fatty foods. Then Congress buys up these unhealthy products and dumps them on our school lunch program. Companies get rich, and kids get fat.”...

Fruit and vegetable growers, who have long felt ignored on Capitol Hill, are confident they will cash in this year. They want to persuade Congress to broaden subsidies beyond traditional farm crops such as corn, wheat, rice and cotton.

“Our markets are highly volatile, yet we have never relied on traditional farm programs to sustain our industry,” said Doug Krahmer, co-owner of Blue Horizon Farms in St. Paul, Ore., which grows blueberries, grass seed, hazelnuts, clover, wheat and flowers.

At a recent congressional field hearing, Krahmer testified for a future farm policy that will not only underpin farms but also “will support and encourage the health and well-being of all Americans.”

Krahmer noted that on any given day, 45 percent of children eat no fruit at all, while 20 percent eat less than one serving of vegetables. They would benefit, he said, if Congress offered subsidies to lower the prices that consumers pay for fruits and vegetables.

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