Food Costs, Availability, & Obesity Rates – Reality Check

Why fruits and vegetables are expensive,

            Why low income neighborhoods have little access to fresh food,

                              Why obesity rates are soaring in the US:

  • Profit margin for soft drinks: 90%
  • Profit margin for fresh produce: 10%
  • Farmland dedicated to corn and soy in the US: 50%
  • Farmland dedicated to fruits and vegetables in the US: 2%

  • Amount of government subsidies given to farmers growing agricultural “commodities,” e.g. corn, soy, wheat, cotton: $20 billion
  • Percentage of government subsidies given to farmers growing fruits and vegetables: less than 1% (of $20 billion)

  • Percentage of obese adults in the US: 35.7%
  • Percentage of obese children in the US: 16.9%


  • Percentage of people in US who do not have a supermarket within 1 mile of their home: 13%
  • Percentage of chain grocery stores in low income areas as compared to high income areas: 25% less

Dear Latte. What a predicament we have gotten ourselves into. Is it possible to subsidize more fruits and vegetables? What would it take to bring fresh food to low income areas? How can we teach our children about fresh produce if they have never had an opportunity to see it, much less eat it? If it’s government’s role to take care of the people, why is it that the politicians are not talking about the health crisis in this country? Is there a way to reverse the trends so that more Americans have access to real food? What can each of us do, as individuals, to make a change?


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