Obesity and food deserts in America

Via Mercola.com, here are 23 minutes from a program shown on the Qatar-based TV news network Al Jazeera, about obesity, food culture and food business in contemporary America:

“Domino’s Pizza’s domestic sales were falling last year. Then an organization called Dairy Management offered to help. They developed pizzas for Domino’s that contained 40 percent more cheese, and then devised and paid for a $12-million marketing campaign.

But Dairy Management is not a private business — it is a creation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA helps helm a government anti-obesity program that discourages some of the very foods that Dairy Management is vigorously promoting.

The New York Times reports:

“… [I]n a series of confidential agreements approved by agriculture secretaries in both the Bush and Obama administrations, Dairy Management has worked with restaurants to expand their menus with cheese-laden products.”

Read more on Mercola.com

And on a more hopeful note, here’s a story from Reuters about a drug store chain, Walgreens, bringing fresh produce to areas that were previously food deserts in Chicago:

Walgreen to bring fresh food to “food deserts”

“(Reuters) – Walgreen Co plans to add more fresh food to about 400 stores in areas where access to produce and other goods is scarce, as it tries to position itself as a one-stop shop for health and daily needs.

The drugstore chain has already added fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and a variety of other fare to 10 stores in parts of Chicago where grocery stores are hard to find.

Executives at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday said they see a greater opportunity to expand those types of shops in Chicago and other places across the country over the next several years, aiming for about 300 to 500 of the company’s more than 7,600 stores.

Adding a wider variety of food, beer and wine at the chain in general is also part of the company’s strategy to become a more convenient option for shoppers, who have a variety of stores to choose from.

It has started to sell some of Duane Reade’s “delish” line of foods at Walgreen locations, after buying the New York-based chain last year.

Walgreen, which has sold some food and drinks, such as milk, for years, is learning a lot about selling fresh food from Duane Reade, Chief Executive Greg Wasson said.

Walgreen is not alone in adding food to its stores. Discounter Target Corp, Family Dollar and a variety of other chains have dedicated more space to food in their stores, especially in recent months.

The chains hope that by providing a wider variety of items people will come into their stores more often, and spend more when they visit….”

Read more on Reuters.com

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Obesity and food deserts in America

  1. thebovine

    Just as a side note, Al Jazeera English (source of the movie clip in the post above) is an interesting network to watch. Independently funded from the oil wealth of Qatar, a tiny state in the Persian gulf, it has been challenging the BBC in providing comprehensive coverage of world news, with reporters on the ground in hot spots around the globe.

    Last I heard the channel was available on cable in at least two cities in the United States, one of them being Burlington Vermont. And it’s currently (as of this year I believe) available as a special order digital channel on the Rogers Cable service in the greater Toronto area in Canada.

    So if you’re concerned about the possibly imperialist agenda of the Beeb, and tired of the infotainment on Fox News, just turn that dial to AJE for something at least a little bit different.

    The recent documentary “Control Room” is about Al Jazeera and their coverage of the gulf war. Here’s the trailer for that:

    AJE’s website:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/

  2. Rachel

    Sitting for hours in front of a laptop has its toll. My waist size has gone up from 28 to 40 without me noticing. I learnt SAP and just like my salary, my waist bulged. I would do anything to get this load off and get back to shape. But I never find time to work out.

  3. thebovine

    More on All Jazeera as the new must-watch channel for international on-the-ground reportage from world hot spots: http://saltspringnews.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=21186

    Only in Canada, you say? Well, our American cousins can always watch it streaming on the AJE website. One wonders how welcome Al Jazeera reporters would be in a United States that was undergoing the kind of social unrest we’re now seeing in Egypt.

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