Thursday, March 22, 2012

Obesity, Birth Defects, GM and Round-Up

Washington's Blog has a series of posts on the role of genetically modified food and chemicals such as BPA in contributing to Americans' weight problem.

I have been a long time fan of Washington's blog and I feel these posts are worth reading.

I've been at universities since 1983 and I can state definitely that America's youth are getting fatter.

This problem is evident in the general population as well.

Yes, diet is part of the problem.

Young people (nearly all Americans) eat way too much junk food. 

I find I cannot contain my gentle criticism of my students' food choices during class (snacks of chips and soda!).

They also do not exercise enough, mainly because so many of them must work their way through college and have little time for exercise.

However, I believe something else is operative because today's hefty young people look different than they did in the past.

Almost all of the young men and women have these rather hefty and flabby tummies, even the ones who otherwise look "normal" weight-wise.

I've had many conversations with colleagues and we've concluded that the students do look different; there is something different about their bodies that distinguishes them from their hefty counterparts in the past.

I know it sounds strange to be discussing student bodies but they really do look different and we are bewildered about why?

Perhaps it is not just the high sugar content but the volume of endocrine disruptors they are exposed to that causes the obesity.

I have in the past posted on the relationship between BPA and obesity.

There is also substantial data that the herbicide Round Up, which is used heavily on all "round-up ready" GM crops, causes birth defects (perhaps because it interferes with the endocrine system).

Most GM commercial crops are Round-Up ready crops that can withstand high amounts of Round-Up and/or are Bt crops that have had Bt (a naturally toxic bacteria) engineered into the plant so that the plant itself produces Bt.

The report found here is authored by extremely well credential scholars who feel that the public has been misinformed about the risks of Round-Up. The report addresses malformations in animal embryos caused by much lower doses than used to spray crops.

The data in this report and found in other studies suggest that we are spraying dangerous chemicals on our food that may be partly or largely responsible for the epidemic in obesity and diabetes.

We must find more sustainable and healthy ways of producing our food.

I think reclaiming unused urban land for urban gardens is a great way to start. Kids who grow vegetables are willing to eat them.

Demanding sustainable farming means halting subsidies for crops like corn that do not contribute to our health and well-being.

Here is a site for more suggestions


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