The quickest way to improve health in America

After spending 4 weeks driving through the US of A, from Washington DC to San Diego, there are a couple of things that are extremely clear:

  • There are plenty poor people
  • Most poor people are seriously overweight
  • Fast is everywhere
  • Fast food is tasty
  • Fast food is very cheap

My wife was the first one to draw my attention to the affordability of fast food. Why? Because she is a health nut, determined to raise our children on food that is exclusively organic, stone-ground and preservative free!

But soon after our arrival she became visibly upset. The fast food is simply irresistible. Convenient and tasty, but most dangerously: Much cheaper than healthy alternatives.

And since finding a bargain is in her nature, she can’t resist a McDonalds meal for four, simply because it is literally less than half of the price of any reasonably healthy alternate.

Conclusion: junk food is virtually irresistible to everyone, mainly due to price.

Of course, driving through America one is also confronted with the obvious controversy of Obamacare, Barack Obama’s attempt at bringing healthcare to all. Clearly that has been very expensive, both financially and politically.

When looking at the fast food phenomenon, I wonder whether a better option would have been to raise taxes on fast food vendors, in the same way the government exercises additional tariffs on tobacco and alcohol.

That way the government would actually raise more money, and the increased prices would go towards changing consumer behaviour at mealtimes, which hopefully has a positive impact on the healthiness of meals being consumed, and the health of the consumers J.