“This is not your grandmother’s hunger,” says Janet Poppendieck, a sociologist at the City University of New York. “Today more working people and their families are hungry because wages have declined.”
The true secret of Easter - but are toys replacing candy (or, more awfully, live animals) as the traditional Easter gift? And is that a bad thing?
The food desert has been a regular topic here on MetaFilter, posts about which often highlight a particular narrative about the effects of meager food choices for poorer urban communities, negatively affecting health and choice among low income people. Though not always. Some new studies indicate the situation in the US might be more like the latter, not quite as dire as is usually asserted. [more inside]
Food Fight: Does Healthy Food Have to Be More Expensive? In which the blog Get Rich Slowly chronicles an argument about nutrition vs cost and then invites readers to chime in.
Why Wal-Mart Is Making Our Health Its Problem - "So what's behind the [healthier-eating] initiative? In a word: scale. In a recent article in HBR, Chris Meyer and I argued that we'll see companies taking more and more ownership of externalities they could ignore because of changing sensibilities and better sensors (meaning detection and reporting of impacts by third parties). But we also identified a third driver: the scale of modern business. Whereas in the past, a single grocer could not have much impact on society, in today's highly consolidated market, Wal-Mart touches a significant percentage of the nation's food intake. Once you reach a scale where your decisions have ramifications for millions, it is hard to pretend that the impacts, even as distant ripples, are not your problem."
The health care bill requires chains with 20 or more restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus, as is already the law in New York and Philadelphia. A study published last fall suggested that the labels didn't change the eating behavior of low-income New Yorkers. A recent study at Yale, conducted under laboratory conditions, found the opposite. Corby Kummer at the Atlantic says calorie labeling works -- once you understand the point is to change the behavior, not of the consumer, but of the vendor. Will calorie labels lead the way to a healthier America, or a part-skim socialist dystopia? Or is the call of the Thickburger just too strong for mere numbers to dispel?
David Kessler Knew That Some Foods Are Hard to Resist; Now He Knows Why. Former FDA commissioner David Kessler goes dumpster-diving to investigate the neurological impact of eating junk food. [Via]
Cheap Donuts and Expensive Broccoli: the Effect of Relative Prices on Obesity. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for the period 1982-1996, we find that individual BMI measures, as well as the likelihood of being overweight or obese, exhibit a statistically significant positive correlation with the prices of healthful relative to unhealthful foods.
Can microbes make us fat? Of the trillions and trillions of cells in a typical human body — at least 10 times as many cells in a single individual as there are stars in the Milky Way — only about 1 in 10 is human. The other 90 percent are microbial. These microbes — a term that encompasses all forms of microscopic organisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa and a form of life called archaea — exist everywhere. New evidence suggests microbes in our bodies can determine how efficiently we process food and affect our hunger centers.
All This Progress Is Killing Us. "Increasingly, Western life is afflicted by the paradoxes of progress. Material circumstances keep improving, yet our quality of life may be no better as a result - especially in those cases, like food, where enough becomes too much."
That is McGross Man eats 18,000 Big Macs.