211334 U.S. agricultural policy: Promoting child obesity and the nutrition transition here and abroad?

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3:30 PM

David Wallinga, MD, MPA , Food and Health Program, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Minneapolis, MN
Alexandra Spieldoch, MA , Trade Program Director, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, MN
Jim Harkness, MA , Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, President, Minneapolis, MN
Ever-strengthening evidence links U.S. agriculture and trade policies to a dysfunctional food system that contributes to obesity and other diet-related chronic disease, both domestically and abroad. Since the mid-1970s, U.S. agricultural policy has been focused not on health, but rather on promoting yield and industrialized production of a few commodity crops -- including corn and soybeans, as well as meat -- in ways that are intensive in use of fossil fuels, antibiotics and other inputs. The presentation demonstrates how these policies may have contributed to an obesogenic food environment, where corn and soy-derived calories are inexpensive, super-abundant and overconsumed by Americans, but also exported to developing nations, where they can contribute to the "nutritional transition" towards overconsumption of saturated fats, refined grains and calorie-dense, nutrient-poor junk foods. In addition, by undercutting the livelihood of farmers in these countries, U.S. agricultural policy promotes their dislocation and migration to the U.S., also impacting public health in myriad ways.

Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze how U.S. agricultural policy has contributed to overconsumption of calories. 2. Describe the links between U.S. agricultural policy and the nutritional transition in Mexico and Brazil. 3. List two unintended costs of a

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a physician, with a Masters degree in public policy. For the last 10 years, Iíve worked on public health issues associated with food policy, including trade in food and agricultural commodities at a sustainable agriculture think tank.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.