For the first time in modern history, today’s children look forward to a shorter lifespan than their parents.*
In a The High Cost of Cheap Food, Megan Nix, editor of DiningOut Magazine, connects the dots between Gentically Modified Foods (GMOs), the epidemic of obesity, organic farms, the crisis of poverty, the rise of diabetes, farm-to-table initiatives, and the role of the FDA.
Here are her compelling opening lines:
I used to find Flaming Hot Cheetos, bagged pickles, and the occasional plate of fried chicken in my classroom when I taught Senior English in Louisiana.
I allowed some of my students to eat at their desks after lunch. I had to; there were three pregnant seniors in my fourth period.
Shayna, who was in her third trimester during her last semester of high school, mostly snacked on packets of those horribly orange peanut butter crackers. Over half of my class was obese. After pizza or macaroni or hamburgers from the cafeteria, they’d fall asleep against their will, come to, apologize, then nod off again.
My students were kids who carried iPhones and wore brand-name shoes. Eighty percent were black, 98 percent were low-income. They’d been raised to look as good as they could, but eat as cheaply as possible.
For awhile, you can ignore poverty in schools, outbreaks of cookie dough E. coli, and the fact that 27 percent of our country’s children are obese. But they’re all connected — and these layers of bad news will eventually weigh one down.
Let me just repeat this: “They’d been raised to look as good as they could, but eat as cheaply as possible.”
Now that’s a death knell for a society if I ever heard one.
*Source: a study published in the NEJM in 2005, A Potential Decline in Life Expectancy in the United States in the 21st Century (Olshansky et al 2005), Ref. S. Jay Olshansky, Ph.D., Douglas J. Passaro, M.D., Ronald C. Hershow, M.D., Jennifer Layden, M.P.H., Bruce A. Carnes, Ph.D., Jacob Brody, M.D., Leonard Hayflick, Ph.D., Robert N. Butler, M.D., David B. Allison, Ph.D., and David S. Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D. Volume 352:1138-1145 March 17, 2005 Number 11