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Grizzly Weinstein
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April 2009
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Grizzly Weinstein [userpic]
Dying of Abundance

William Saletan paraphrases Barry Popkin in his recent Human Nature Slate column The genetic limits of obesity.

In the hunter-gatherer era, if we didn't find food, we died. In the agricultural era, if our crops perished, we died. In the industrial era, famine receded, but infectious diseases killed us. Now we've achieved such control over nature that we're dying not of starvation or infection, but of abundance.

Elsewhere in the article he posits that one of the reasons that the obesity rate has stopped going up is because we are in a period of economic decline (recession, or at the Bush Administration calls it, 'economic downclimb').
I wonder if anyone has data on obesity rates among classes, as I envision the exact opposite; as we get poorer we eat less well. McDonalds is cheap - factory produced foods sold at your local mega-super-market are far cheaper than buying organic from Whole Foods or your local Co-op.
Although this could swing back the other way if it gets bad enough - Cuba anyone? Backyard gardens and local farms could be the cheapest way to get food in a time of high fuel costs (and no, $5 a gallon is not high fuel costs).
Although I have heard the cost of shipping/railroading large amounts of food is not really relevant compared to the cost from the drop point to the store.

So where is this post going? Nowhere - but it was an interesting article.

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