Pandemic paradox: As food poverty rises, so does obesity

The Covid-19 pandemic has limited trips to the grocery store, shut down neighborhood markets and generally made it harder for people struggling financially to find affordable healthy food, reports Bloomberg.  As a result, more people are relying on cheaper and more easily accessible fast and ultra-processed food, driving up rates of obesity around the world.

Do soda taxes change minds?

Taxes on sugary drinks are often credited with reducing soda consumption by making the sweet beverages more expensive. The taxes may actually have a much smaller impact on how consumers view the sodas, say the authors of a study on the "non-pecuniary (non-price) effects of sugar-sweetened beverage policies."

Trump plan lowers quality of school meals, say former ag secretaries

With nearly one in five American youths suffering obesity, schools should provide optimal nutrition in the meals served daily to 29.5 million students a day, said former agriculture secretaries Ann Veneman and Dan Glickman. The co-chairs of a prevention initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Veneman and Glickman said the Trump administration proposals announced last week "would reduce the nutritional quality of foods served to children in both school breakfast and lunch programs."

In CDC report on ‘fast food,’ Sweetgreen and McDonald’s are treated as equals

A much-publicized report from the Centers for Disease Control released earlier this month found that more than a third of Americans eat fast food daily. But what wasn't included in the media coverage was that the study’s definition of "fast food" includes fast-casual restaurants, such as the custom-salad chain Sweetgreen, as well as coffee, bagel, and even ice cream shops. Such a broad definition, well beyond the burger-centric drive-through that the term "fast food" calls to mind, raises questions about how much the CDC data actually reveal about American eating habits.

Big Soda pours $20 million into fight against local soda taxes

In June 2017, the Seattle City Council approved a tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on sugary beverages. Now the soda industry has donated almost every dollar of the $20.2 million raised to support a statewide referendum on Nov. 6 that would prevent other cities and counties in Washington State from following Seattle’s lead.

Three things that go together: Young adults, affluence and fast food

Roughly 37 percent of U.S. adults eat fast food daily, says a CDC analysis of dietary data, but the rate is much higher for men and women aged 20-39 and for higher-income people. "Fast food consumption has been associated with increased intake of calories, fat, and sodium," says the CDC, which estimates adult Americans get 11 percent of their calories from fast food.

Global glut of palm oil adds to India’s health woes

Rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related diseases have soared in India and other developing countries in recent years, coinciding with a flood of cheap palm oil that is used in everything from processed snacks and fast food to traditional foods like samosas and poori, according to the latest story from FERN, published with The Nation. No paywall

A new bulge in America’s obesity epidemic

Two more states, Iowa and Oklahoma, joined the list of states where adult obesity rates are 35 percent or higher, said the annual State of Obesity report on Wednesday.

A contract is rebid, and 40 percent of SNAP sales at farmers markets are up in the air

Earlier this year, when the USDA changed the vendor that runs its program that allows farmers markets to take SNAP benefits, it set off a chain reaction that could soon prevent thousands of poor people from using those benefits at the markets, reports FERN’s latest piece, published with The Washington Post. No paywall

The ‘Commod Bod’ and USDA’s box-o-food program

There are federal predecessors to the Trump administration's "Harvest Box" proposal, to provide half of food-stamp benefits in the form of a box of processed and packaged foods, says the NPR blog The Salt. "Among those horrified at the thought: American Indians who recognized this as the same type of federal food assistance that tribes have received for decades, with devastating implications for health."