Detroit Piston Joins Physicians to Ask for Agricultural Subsidy Reform
The best way to support our farmers and the health of every American is to encourage production of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. That’s the message former NBA champ John Salley and PCRM member physicians recently sent Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
Last month, Sen. Stabenow went home to Michigan to hold a hearing to find out what her constituents want addressed in the 2012 Farm Bill reauthorization. Prior to the meeting, Salley wrote to Sen. Stabenow about his concern with agricultural subsidies that promote the production of meat, cheese, and other unhealthy foods.
“Bad food is making America sick. So I cannot understand why more than 60 percent of the billions of dollars in federal food subsidies support production of the unhealthiest foods—especially foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol like meat and dairy products,” wrote Salley. “These foods are linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases.”
PCRM also delivered a letter to Sen. Stabenow signed by dozens of Michigan physicians and other health care professionals who urged her to support farmers and the health of every American by encouraging the growth of more healthful crops such as vegetables and fruits.
Nationwide, the annual medical cost of obesity reached $147 billion in 2008. Medicare and Medicaid spending for obesity-related conditions now totals $61 billion per year. Heart disease costs $189 billion in annual direct medical expenses; cancer costs $103 billion per year; and diabetes costs $116 billion annually. By 2030, the annual medical costs for cardiovascular disease alone are projected to reach $818 billion.