By Davina Jackson
Our Wallets Determine how Big our Guts Get
It’s been no big secret that most of our foods contain high fructose corn syrup at the top of their ingredients list. So why do people see this as an insignificant matter? People refuse to change their spending habits on food, despite the fact that historical opposites are happening in the United States. These changes just don’t make logical sense from any way that you look at it. The Great Depression was a clear marker for the simple fact that the rich were fat and the poor were skinny, which makes sense, considering poor people had fewer opportunities to expose themselves to the nutrition needed to give their bodies’ energy and substance. You would think something so logical would be affluent throughout history, yet it is not so here in the 21st century. It is the opposite: the rich are now skinny and the poor are obese. It’s come to the point where obesity is an epidemic sweeping the nation, as doctors proclaim.
Looking at the facts, clearly the food producing businesses as well as the government itself are to be held responsible, yet no one is pointing the finger. Anyone who does push the blame onto the rightful corporations is immediately ignored or sued. This is a clear implication that proposals for solutions to obesity in America that have a chance at working would not be passed and accepted by the government legislature. For example, Twinkies grosses in an income of $25 billion a year, while farmers growing fresh fruits and vegetables have probably never seen those numbers for their incomes in their lives. How can this be so? Easily, Twinkies will sell 8 in a box for three dollars and change, while fresh fruits at the Farmer’s Market sell a batch of strawberries for almost twice that. The farmers are desperately trying to make a living and are losing to big corporations producing unhealthy foods.
If unhealthy foods are sold cheaper and are made more available and convenient, the consumer will go for what they think is the better deal. In reality, they probably have more doctor visits than the person who decides to spend the extra bucks for Farmer’s Market foods. Not only is unhealthy convenient, the poor are clearly uneducated about what they are eating in most cases. It’s been hypothesized that certain percentages of poor people are ignorant about nutrition, are too lazy/busy to cook real food, are too tired from working to get proper exercise, and don’t have access to fitness centers or farmers markets. When it comes down to it, finances are the final decider for the individual in the store to decide whether to buy what’s good or bad for their body. What is the government doing to avoid this? Absolutely nothing. “Consider that between 1985 and 2000, the inflation-adjusted prices of fruits and vegetables increased by an average of 40%. During the same period of time the real price of soft drinks fell by almost 25%.” (Herring 1) What can the consumer do? Start making the healthier decision about what to let into their body. Spend a little extra, but in the long term, it’s a much better investment than getting what’s easier and unhealthier.