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Obesity: A Problem Among The Poor

866 words - 4 pages

The definition of obesity is the condition of being grossly fat or overweight. “Obesity has many causes, but some experts believe that the structure of [the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] deserves some of the blame” (Vanderkam). Laura Vanderkam states that the food stamp programs encourage binge buying and encourage buying junk food. About 3.8 million people rely on food stamps. That is one in eight Americans. The program has helped feed hungry bellies since 1964, and the program has grown tremendously, likewise, so has obesity. In the 1960’s the percent of obesity was thirteen percent, the percentage has now increased to thirty-five (Vanderkam). Food stamps support the problem of obesity in America.
A scientist at Ohio State University, Jay Zagorsky, conducted a study and found that women who were in the program were more likely to be obese than those women who were not. They also gained weight faster while receiving assistance than when they were not receiving financial aid. Food stamps are given out once a month. The benefits are loaded, electronically, onto cards that can then be used at retailers. The majority of people using food stamps buy early in the month and then they store the rest for later use. The families mostly spend their benefits in that first shopping trip. A majority of the time, they end up with no money and no food towards the end of each month. They then have no option but to be hungry and try and receive food or money from local charities, such as the Daily Bread or a local church. People receiving food stamps receive them once a month, and then blow it all at once, the food stamps should be portioned out and receive once a week, that will encourage the people receiving the food stamps to buy groceries more often. Wilde found that shopping frequently, instead of once a month or even twice a month, would help people receiving the benefits to shop smarter (Vanderkam). The families could still shop once a month by saving up their benefits, but by giving them their benefits more often, they are being told, and suggested, to shop more frequently.
Also, low-income neighborhoods that are located more than a mile away from a supermarket have been designated “Food Deserts” (Ploeg). The majority of residents in these low-income neighborhoods are receiving financial aid. The Department of Agriculture estimates that 4.1 percent of the U.S. population lacks access to affordable and nutritious foods. People living in low-income neighborhoods usually...

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