Matters of Scale - Food for Thought

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Approximate amount by which American women over age 20 increased their annual spending on soft drinks between 1985 and 1998
700000000
Amount American women over age 20 spent in 1998 for liposuction removal of fat
607000000
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Number of additional people who could be fed, at U.S. levels of consumption, if the amount of food wasted in the United States each day were reduced by one-third
26 million
Number of people living in North Korea, which is slowly dying of famine
25 million
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Percentage of meals eaten inside U.S. homes in 1998 that were home-cooked
16
Percentage that were from fast-food or take-out
62
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Work time it takes to earn enough to buy a McDonald's Big Mac hamburger in the United States
11 minutes
Work time it takes to buy a Big Mac in Nairobi, Kenya
480 minutes
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Percentage of the U.S. labor force employed in farming, fishing, and forestry in 1998
2.8
Percentage of U.S. residents in jail or on probation or parole in the same year
2.8
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Sources: Soft drink sales: Jane Brody, New York Times; liposuction expenditures: Worldwatch estimate based on data from American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery; food wasted: Economic Research Service, USDA; home cooked vs. take-out: Cook's Illustrated work time and Big Macs: Yes magazine, cited in HopeDance magazine; U.S. labor force in farming, etc: CIA, U.S. residents in jail, etc.: U.S. Department of Justice