One in five children are obese, says report

Childhood obesity continues to rise in the United States, reaching 19.3 percent at latest measurement, up by 5 percentage points for children ages 2-19 in two decades, said the annual State of Childhood Obesity report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Obesity “continues to be a national …

Nitrate-tainted drinking water plagues California farmworker towns, study shows

California officials have long known that pollution from the state’s $50 billion farming industry fouls drinking water sources in poor Latino communities where many toil as farmworkers. Now a review of state and federal data shows the problem is getting worse. More than 5 million people in California’s largely Latino communities have nitrate levels in their drinking water at or above federal standards, says an analysis by the Environmental Working Group released Wednesday. (No paywall)

States are rolling back recent transparency measures in how they report meatpacking plant outbreaks

Several states introduced more rigorous public reporting of Covid-19 outbreaks and cases in the agriculture sector this summer after calls from advocates and the media for more transparency. But several of those efforts have been stalled, rolled back, or rely on outdated information, which public health experts and labor advocates say hinders communities’ and workers’ ability to curtail the spread of the virus.

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."

Cut back on sugar and alcohol, recommends U.S. diet panel

Americans should halve their consumption of added sugars, and men should limit themselves to one drink a day, said a panel of experts helping the government update its advice on healthful diets. The advisory committee report, published on Wednesday, is expected to provide the scientific foundation for a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scheduled for publication late this year.

Bayer abandons key provision in glyphosate settlement plan

Two weeks after agreeing to pay up to $9.6 billion to resolve thousands of cancer lawsuits against glyphosate, seed and ag-chemical giant Bayer is still looking for a way to handle future litigation against the weedkiller. A proposal to appoint a panel of experts to decide if glyphosate is carcinogenic — a pivotal question for cases filed in coming years — died on Wednesday following criticism from the federal judge handling the lawsuits.

Bayer to pay up to $11.3 billion to resolve glyphosate, dicamba litigation

Under the terms of an agreement announced Wednesday, seed and agribusiness giant Bayer will pay up to $10.9 billion to resolve lawsuits that accuse its Roundup herbicide of causing cancer, and an additional $400 million to settle litigation claiming crop damage caused by its dicamba weedkiller from 2015 to 2020.

New USDA regulation waives review of many biotech plants

Three decades into the agricultural biotechnology era, the USDA said on Thursday that it will exempt genetically engineered plants from pre-market reviews if they are unlikely to pose an environmental risk. Opponents of the move said it means "a majority of genetically engineered and gene-edited plants will now escape any oversight" by the USDA.

More coronavirus tests, broadband needed in rural America, say Senate Democrats

Covid-19 cases have been reported in more than two-thirds of rural counties, said a report by Senate Democrats, who called for nationwide rapid-response testing for the coronavirus and for expansion of high-speed internet to maintain commerce and healthcare in rural areas. (No paywall)