Food pricing and marketing practices determine individual dietary choices. These dietary choices inversely correlate to income and obesity (French, 2003; Drewnowski, & Specter, 2004; Cawley, 2004). Extending the consequences of dietary choices one step further are an array of diseases, including diminished immunities, diabetes, heart disease and cancer resulting from poor choices. We can identify the problem but how can we effect a solution?
Obesity among low socioeconomic populations is increasing due to the lack of environmental factors and resources available to the community (Powell, Auld, Chaloupka, O’Malley, & Johnston, 2007). Public assistance resources supplement food choices and availability to people in need. When public assistance is restricted, diminished or extinguished, at risk consumers are required to make even greater cost determinative choices. These choices, although lower in cost, are often high fat, high sugar, and highly processed foods for simple meal solutions (French, 2003; Drewnowski, & Specter, 2004). The poor lack the financial ability that would allow them to make healthy choices. “In a nationally representative sample of more than 6,000 adults, wages were inversely related to BMI – meaning, those with low wages had increased BMI as well as increased chance of being obese (Kim & Leigh, 2010).” Additionally, The Journal of Nutrition reports a study of price reductions on lower fat snacks, fresh fruit and baby carrots resulted in increased consumption of up to 93% when prices on these items were reduced by up to 50% (French, 2013).
Fat and sugar provide dietary energy at a very low cost. Processed foods become the mainstay of the poor (Drewnowski, & Specter, 2004). The addition of saturated fats, corn syrup and sugars are used to modify foods so that they have a longer shelf life. People know that processed foods are bad for them, but convenience has a more powerful influence on them than knowledge (French, 2013). Minimal financial allowances for food budgets affect the food choices of the poor (Drewnowski, & Specter, 2004). Marketing strategies and supermarket designs, however, are deceiving people into thinking that they are getting the best product for their money.
Processed foods increase the likeliness of obesity which increases an individual’s chances of decreased immunity, ultimately leading to an increased risk of cancer (Isganaitis, & Lustig, 2005). Increased body weight is associated with increased death rates for all cancer types (Calle, Rodriguez, Walker-Thurmond, & Thun, 2003). It is estimated that being obese and overweight is associated with cancer related deaths in one in seven deaths in men and one in five deaths in women (Calle, & Thun, 2004; Byers, Nestle, McTiernan, Doyle, Currie‐Williams, Gansler, & Thun, 2002). According to the World Health Organization, the amount of processed foods that are being eaten today are accountable for the increases in obesity and heart disease (Botes, 2011;...