Largesse and Schizophrenia at the USDA by Pat Conrad MD


Readers of this space will note a longstanding antipathy for government-sponsored compassion, as beautifully exemplified by this fun little juxtaposition:  The Wall Street Journal tells us that “an estimated 14.5 million American households had difficulty providing enough food for their families last year, according to a recent government report.”  Said report was from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which determined this number based on “how many households have to limit their food options or even skip meals because they cannot afford enough or healthier food.”  This term is “food security”, worse degrees of which are correlated with lower median household income.

The article continues:

“It may surprise some that, in fact, the majority of the 10 states with food access problems have higher-than-average obesity rates. Mississippi and Arkansas had the second and third highest obesity rates in the country in 2012..”

“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”, explains Ross Fraser, spokesperson for hunger-relief charity Feeding America.

Fine, the big’uns in the South are malnourished, even as their food stamp usage and Hemoglobin A1c rates soar.  I’m no nutritionist, but I can happily see Fraser’s point that these folks are not well nourished.  But I’ll be damned if I’ll buy the Huffington Post headline:  “The States Where The Most People Go Hungry.”  The USDA awards the great state of Mississippi the first place trophy for “Going Most Hungry.”  Mississippi also takes home the silver medal for “Most Fat”, with a clinical obesity rate of 32.2%.  And that’s where I’m getting off the bus (hopefully for a great steak and fries with gravy in Greenville, MS).  My beloved South is not awash in kwashiorkor, and the stupid federal studies and their grant recipients who put “fat” and “starving” on the same plate just don’t pass the taste test.


41640cookie-checkLargesse and Schizophrenia at the USDA by Pat Conrad MD