Millions have crossed through the fence from Mexico to America, both legally and illegally, making Hidalgo County, Texas, one of the fastest-growing places in America. “El Futuro” is what some residents have begun calling the area, and here the future is unfolding in a cycle of cascading extremes. The country’s hungriest region is also its most overweight, with 38.5 percent of the people obese. For one of the first times anywhere in the United States, children in South Texas have a projected life span that is a few years shorter than that of their parents.
It is a crisis at the heart of the Washington debate over food stamps, which now help support nearly 1 in 7 Americans. Has the massive growth of a government feeding program solved a problem, or created one? Is it enough for the government to help people buy food, or should it go further by also telling them what to eat? The Washington Post explores the issue extensively.