Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eat a Carrot--Hurt the Economy?

From Yahoo News.

"Eating a healthy diet may be good for you, but it may be unintentionally slimming for the economies of some developing countries, a new study says. British researchers modeled what could happen if people in Britain and Brazil adopted healthier diets as defined by the World Health Organization, including more fruits and vegetables and less meat and dairy products.

In Britain, experts estimated that fixing the country's bad eating habits might prevent nearly 70,000 people from prematurely dying of diet-related health problems like heart disease and cancer. It would also theoretically save the health system 20 billion pounds ($32 billion) every year.

In Brazil, however, the rates of illnesses linked to a poor diet are not as high as in the U.K. So Brazilians would get relatively few health benefits while their economy might lose millions."


"We are not suggesting people not eat a healthy diet," said Richard Smith, a professor of health system economics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "We're just trying to point out that healthier eating can have unintended consequences."


"In an ideal world, we would all have a perfect diet," Smith said. "But it's also desirable that everybody has a job."

Smith said officials should consider nutritional guidelines more carefully. For countries like Brazil, which rely heavily on meat imports to the West and to Japan, global nutritional advice could potentially be devastating.

Others weren't so sure.

"There are things happening in the rest of the world that this model didn't account for," said Julian Morris, executive director of International Policy Network, a London-based think tank. "The increasing demand for meat in Asia is substantial, ongoing, and might counteract any reduced demand in developed countries."


"If you really want a dramatic change in consumption of meat and dairy products, you need a radical policy, like a tax or quota system," he said.

Robert Beaglehole, an emeritus professor at the University of Auckland not linked to the study, said scientific developments might help one day.

"The answer could be to breed healthier cattle and pigs," he said, adding that more research was needed on whether additional strategies were necessary to ensure healthy eating guidelines don't accidentally hurt developing economies."


"You could tell people to buy less meat and maybe they will buy bananas instead," he said. "But they could also buy more beer and wine."

Now we're expected to take THE GLOBE'S NEEDS into consideration when tending to OUR OWN needs? I, for one, am NOT my brother's keeper, but I will give him tips on how to keep himself.

Healthier cattle and pigs would help--maybe feeding them what they're supposed to eat, rather than what's more cost-effective for the farmer? Cows eat grass by nature, not grains!

So I'm supposed to eat meat so Brazilians have jobs? What about ME--I haven't had a job in 15 years! Besides, those meat-raising Brazilians will find something else to capitalize on--everyone finds a new occupation when out of a job (it may just take some time).


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