Pagan Kennedy ’84: What’s in our meat?

By Caroline MacNeille '16

[Pagan Kennedy '84] In an article for the New York Times, Pagan Kennedy ’84 explores the correlation between increasing obesity in the American population and what they’re feeding the meat we eat.

Pagan graduated from Wesleyan in 1984 and now works as an author and regular columnist for the New York Times and Boston Magazine. She has written ten books and has taught writing at Dartmouth, Boston College and Johns Hopkins. Her next novel on the science of successful invention will be released in 2015.

If you walk into a farm-supply store today, you’re likely to find a bag of antibiotic powder that claims to boost the growth of poultry and livestock.

Recently, a group of medical investigators have begun to wonder whether antibiotics might cause the same growth promotion in humans. New evidence shows that America’s obesity epidemic may be connected to our high consumption of these drugs.

In 2002 Americans were about an inch taller and 24 pounds heavier than they were in the 1960s, and more than a third are now classified as obese. Of course, diet and lifestyle are prime culprits. But some scientists wonder whether there could be other reasons for this staggering transformation of the American body. Antibiotics might be the X factor — or one of them.

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Image: c/o Byliner

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