From Intellectual Takeout

Recent reports show that the United States is one of the most obese nations in the world—the only G-8 nation to crack the top 20 of the most overweight countries in the world.

For children and low-income people the problem is particularly acute. A 2015 report commission by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the U.S. “has the fattest kids by a wide margin and is tops in poor health for teenagers.”

It’s a stunning shift in how we understand malnourishment. For almost the entirety of human history, the struggle for impoverished people was getting enough food to meet a sufficient daily caloric intake.

Today, the opposite is true: Low-income people are taking in too many calories (and often bad calories, at that) and are much more likely to be overweight than people in the middle and upper classes.

In 1766, in his tract On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, Benjamin Franklin noted that public efforts to alleviate poverty often had perverse effects on the people they were intended to help:

“I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer.”

To Franklin's point, I can think of few things that would make people "easier in their poverty" than a program like SNAP. If SNAP is contributing to the obesity epidemic, is our government doing a great disservice to these people?

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