NAFTA and the Obesity Crisis

We think that exporting American values — at least the pre-Trump version of American values — is a good thing. For Mexico, the freeing up of the fast food trade via NAFTA has not been so great. The result has been a spike in obesity.

I’ve noticed the same trend in Panama. Back in the Peace Corps days, the late 1960’s, no one in the village had enough to eat, but what they did eat was fairly healthy: rice, beans, fish, bread, fruit picked from back yard trees. No vegetables other than starchy, root vegetables like yucca. No dairy. No junk food. No soda. Now, it’s not uncommon for kids to eat a bag of chips and an orange soda for breakfast. Men drink more beer, because their construction jobs give them more money to buy it.

This is Roberto Delgado, the father of five of Minga’s children, in the late 1960’s. He’s thin as a rail, which was common across the board. I won’t post pics of people now, so as not to shame anyone. But there aren’t many people as thin as Roberto any more. And it’s not a muscular bulking up; people are simply overweight.

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