Political Economy Of Nutrition

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The Political Economy of Nutrition in the United States

The Political Economy of Nutrition in the United States


The science of nutrition is very recent, just 200 years ago the first observations of Lavoisier in France. Scientific studies of nutrition in the nineteenth century passed from France to Germany and are set out the fundamental principles of energy concept of nutrition. In 1877 appears the first American dietitian, but until 1899 that defines "Dietitian's profile." The American Dietetic Association (ADA) established in Ohio in 1927 and currently has about 70,000 members of the group being food and nutrition professionals largest U.S. and the world. This date also begins the study of Dietetics and Nutrition in America and Europe, implementing the Race Dietitian at university level. The period between 1930 &1940, is characterized by the discovery of new vitamins and predominant prevention of deficiency diseases, using food fortification with vitamins.

Following the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945, emerged as the major problem the nutritional status of populations occupied by Nazi forces. The scientific movements were immediate and even before the conflict ended expert groups were formed to go to the worst affected areas. Thus was born the UNRA (United Nations and Rehabilitation Administration Relief) that was created in 1944. Over the next three years given the creation of international bodies like the UN Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) through experience in Europe are given the task of organizing missions to support developing countries that periodically suffered from famine. In 1955, visiting 5 continents in order to identify these problems and offer some help in cooperation with specific protection measures and staff training through grants from the Organization.

The U.S. government subsidizes the production of sugar and fat, is carried out by the lobby, provides schools with Coca-Cola and McDonald's, denounced the nutritionist Marion Nestle. So much for public health! No way to weaken the food industry by recommending people to eat less meat or sugar. This is the first instruction received by Marion Nestle when she joined the team of experts responsible for drafting a large government report on nutrition and health in the U.S. (The Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health). The pressures of the industry were in fact so strong that the report, published in 1988, was the last ever produced on the subject by the U.S. government (Agrawal & Heady, 1972).

The publication of the famous Food Guide Pyramid the U.S. equivalent of Canada's Food Guide has been an epic. For years, professional's health and nutrition have fought against the soft drink bottlers and producers of meat and sugar, which went up to court to defend their interests. Result: the U.S., it is impossible to advise the public that there is food better than others, for fear of being sued. The nutrition experts are reduced to saying that "all foods can fit into a balanced ...
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