Report: America subsidizing junk food, obesity epidemic

A new report says taxpayer money subsidizes the equivalent of 19 Twinkies for every almost quarter of one apple. / Source:

(ABOVE: A video message from The California Public Interest Research Group, or CALPIRG, on its new report on corn subsidies and junk food.)

The United States spends billions of dollars a year to subsidize crops eventually used in the junk food industry, according to a new report featured by the Los Angeles Times.

CALPIRG and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund released the report, called "Apples to Twinkies: Comparing Federal Subsidies of Fresh Produce and Junk Food," to help determine whether federal farm subsidies contribute to the nation's growing obesity epidemic.

The report found that from 1995 to 2010, the federal government spent $16.9 billion to subsidize the production of corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils. All four items are used as ingredients and additives in junk food, the report said.

Compared to the amount spent on subsidizing apples, CALPIRG said in a statement quoted by the L.A. Times that "each of America's 144 million taxpayers would be given $7.36 to spend on junk food and 11 cents with which to buy apples each year - enough to buy 19 Twinkies but less than a quarter of one Red Delicious apple apiece."

With the White House and Congress focusing on the childhood and adult obesity problem in the country, should the U.S. reconsider corn subsidies that end up producing high fructose corn syrup and other things that end up in junk food? How would you like this taxpayer money spent? Sound off below and on our WNWO Facebook page!