Subsidies Don’t Cause Obesity

It’s blame that our industry has experienced many times — accusations that government agricultural supports are negatively impacting consumer health.

Recently, the Ohio Public Interest Research Group released a statement claiming that farm subsidies are making our kids fat rather than supporting the growth of healthy, nutritious food. The study focused on high fructose corn syrup stating that 14 of the 37 ingredients in Twinkies are made with federal subsidies.

Federal farm programs are criticized often, especially in light of discussions about the national deficit and pending 2012 Farm Bill.

Unfortunately, people are pointing the finger at the wrong culprit. Seventy-five percent of the Farm Bill regards nutrition programs including school lunches, food stamps and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), yet the parameters of these programs aren’t receiving criticism.

To really influence kids’ health, we need to educate them about the types of food to eat and how much to eat. The broad-based allegation that the assistance some farmers receive to provide affordable, abundant food for the country is the reason for a child obesity epidemic is outrageous. Farm programs are designed and used to help farmers manage risk from year-to-year uncertainty and to help our nation maintain a stable food supply.

The Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program has launched the “Food for Thought Challenge” — a campaign to change attitudes and behaviors about healthy eating in Ohio’s school communities.

Ten Ohio FFA chapters will be selected to receive $500 to develop campaign activities in their school. The best chapter program will be awarded $2,000 at the Ohio State FFA Convention next spring.

As industry advocates, it’s important to clarify, if and when possible, that it is an individual’s personal eating and exercise habits that affect his or her health, to help consumers and the media understand the truth of this far-fetched misconception.

As always, we welcome any questions or comments about or related to our work to support and advance the Ohio grain industry. If you’re interested in joining OCWGA, please contact us.


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