It’s understood that health insurance companies profit from fast food — indirectly, via clogged arteries, rising blood sugar levels and the obesity that’s been linked repeatedly to high-fat, high-sugar content in the types of foods served in many drive-throughs.
Now comes news that the health insurance titans are profiting directly as well.
Scientific American reports that a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health that has found U.S. health and life insurers have invested $1.88 billion in the top five publicly traded food chains.
The authors of the study argue that these companies should be held to a higher standard, rather than be allowed to prop up the industries that undermine public health; and that their investments reveal where their heart is.
“Our data illustrate the extent to which the insurance industry seeks to turn a profit above all else,” said Wesley Body, senior author of the study, in a news release. “Safeguarding people’s health and well-being take a back seat to making money.”
The Scientific American article reported that “the largest burger backer” was Northwestern Mutual, with $422.2 million invested in fast food corporations, including $318.1 million in McDonald’s.