Hunger Accountability


I want to add my two cents to an article Pat Conrad did back on Sept 10th here on this blog.  It is about this food security nonsense.   In the MSN article showing the states most people go hungry, the first sentence goes:

The states with the lowest food security, not surprisingly, are among the poorest in the country and have higher-than-average obesity rates.

This drove Pat crazy and rightfully so.  If you don’t know how this argument goes, here it is from Ross Fraser, spokesperson for hunger-relief charity Feeding America:

“The lack of healthy food among families in these states is one of the reasons you have very poor people who are obese. It is because they’re not able to afford nutritious and high-protein food.”

My issue is the science.  For some reason, NO ONE has pushed back on this and asked for proof.  I may be ignorant, but could someone show me a study (one without biases) that proves this point?  It has now been accepted even though it is counterintuitive.  But let’s for a second say this is true, that these poor obese people don’t have access to nutritious and high-protein food and therefore choose crap to eat.  Surely we can just use the SKU number on every item they buy with food stamps and break this down.  What?  The government can’t do this?   That’s right, we do not access that information.  Read this entry I did six months ago. 

Here is the thing.  It is easy to be politically correct.  It is easy to say the right thing but DOING the right thing is much harder.  Maybe, just maybe, that statement by Ross Fraser is wrong?   Maybe there is enough healthy food in these states with high obesity rates and people are just not choosing them.  Maybe it is affordable, nutritious and higher in protein but people still want Monster Cola, snickers and Doritos.   Would the charity Feeding America stop getting donations?   Hmmmm.

We cannot accept this without proof.   Every supermarket has healthy food on the edges (fruit, veggies, meats).   Maybe we need to educate the poor better and then change the food stamp program so that they get double the food if they DON’T buy processed food? Whatever.  We need to try something different because what we are doing just isn’t working.   Actually, worse, by doing nothing these same programs help the poor get more food stamps to buy more crap.


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  7 comments for “Hunger Accountability

  1. Lynn
    October 3, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Poor people (or anyone for that matter) aren’t obese because they eat unhealthy food. They are obese because they eat TOO MUCH food.

  2. T
    October 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve learned a lot by visiting different blogs on the internet.

    Well……some blogs are more honest than others. Some will tell you the following: there are no grocery stores in the poor areas.


    Because the poor areas are mostly minority: black and Hispanic. Both of those groups commit the most violent crimes. The grocery stores and good restaurants (even the fast-food chains!) have long since discovered they are ROBBED, & STOLEN FROM in these areas. They CANT MAKE MONEY THERE.

    And THAT’S why there are no stores selling nutritious food in the ‘poor areas’. Otherwise known as the projects/barrios.

  3. robert erickson
    October 2, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Just a note: many areas where the poor are located do not have accessible supermarkets.

  4. Michelle
    October 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I have been saying for years that the food stamp program needs to get away from “debit cards” where they can purchase all kinds of crap and turn more toward a model like the WIC program. By giving them specific quantities of specific healthy and nutritious products rather than processed, empty calorie products we would be encouraging a much healthier lifestyle.

  5. Dave Mittman, PA, DFAAPA
    September 30, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Agree and disagree.
    Firstly, great idea about getting double the amount of food stamps or even charging half the amount for healthy alternatives. Even Cheerios for breakfast rather than potato chips and soda.
    We all see the sequele of people eating foods that fill them up and have a days worth of calories in them for each meal. How much obesity and diabetes do people have to get before medical people stand up? Obviously what you put in your body has almost everything to do with getting better or worse. And worse kills patients and also costs our care system billions of dollars before they die.
    We have to do something.

  6. Pat
    September 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    In 1615 corrupt officials within the Catholic Church threatened Galileo with torture over his scientific findings. How many millions died over the insane “science” of eugenics. The politics of DDT became “science” which has killed how many more via malaria? The best philosophical ideas are in harmony with the rational implementation of reproducible results. That to me is authentic medicine. Human suffering lies at the intersection of bad ideas and bad science. Doug is exactly right about the need for an actual scientific foundation for any national feeding program; unfortunately, Sir Lance explains what will happen when a corrupt government gets its hands on it.

  7. Sir Lance-a-lot
    September 29, 2013 at 8:00 am

    “Maybe we need to educate the poor better and then change the food stamp program so that they get double the food if they DON’T buy processed food?”

    Say what, Doug?

    You may not remember this, but Food Stamps were not originally sold exclusively as a program for helping poor people – they were promoted as a component of the farm subsidy programs.
    Food stamps were intended to help farmers sell excess products, and improve farm conditions, as much as they were intended to help the hungry.

    Since, in the modern age, the vast majority of farm output is from huge farms owned by major corporations (ConAgra, Archer Daniels Midland), those corporations are now major players in the food stamp program.
    The last thing these companies (and therefore their agents, otherwise known as “Congressmen”) want is for people to eat less “Monster Cola, Snickers and Doritos.”
    The worst thing would be for food stamp dollars to be turned toward small local farmers, so, don’t worry, you’ll never see the day when food stamps encourage people to buy healthy foods, rather than volume.

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