Free Trade in the Body
The fourth chapter, “NAFTA: Free Trade in the Body,” describes the magnitude and characteristics of Mexico’s so-called obesity and diabetes epidemic and the current hypotheses for the causes and treatment of obesity for individuals and at the population level. The chapter points out some of the lesser known hypotheses for the abrupt rise in obesity and diet-related chronic diseases in the last few decades. Far from linking the rise of obesity to increased appetites for snacks and sodas, some of these hypotheses focus on ways that the production and consumption of processed foods and beverages have increased people’s exposure to chemicals with metabolic and endocrinological properties that produce weight gain and alter organ function. The methodological and empirical challenges of understanding the effects of economic policy, like free trade agreements, on the body are explored.
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