Relationship Between Poverty And Obesity Essay

1622 words - 6 pages

Does low socioeconomic status bear a significant role in the obesity epidemic? A national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) estimated that more than two-thirds of Americans are now overweight or obese (body mass index of over 30), and the percentage is escalating. The Census Bureau (2011) reported 46.2 million people in America are currently living beneath the official poverty line. The official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent; up from 14.3 percent in 2009; this was the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate (Census Bureau, 2011). One might assume that obesity and poverty are not associated, but this is not accurate. The correlation between poverty and obesity can be witnessed in the vast majority of the low-income communities amidst the country. Low socioeconomic status influences patterns of eating (food insecurities), and restricts access to healthy and affordable nourishment linking poverty to the soaring obesity epidemic; solutions to lower the risk for obesity in low socioeconomic individuals includes: changing the dynamics of low income communities and second solution is to increase the benefits and participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) (2012) stated that “obesity plagues low-income people in this country just as hunger and food insecurity do” (para. 4). Due to predetermined budgets and the proliferating cost of food, individuals will sporadically condense their intake or omit meals to extend their food budget. This manner or pattern of consuming food triggers people to overindulge when sustenance does become obtainable, resulting in habitual ups and downs in food consumption that promotes weight gain. Michael Pollen, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, stated that when food is abundant and cheap, people will eat more of it and get fat (p. 102). One might impugn that it is not poverty but lack of education that affects the obesity epidemic. It does not require a mathematician to comprehend that choosing a two dollar case of Honey Buns as opposed to a six dollar bag of apples will equal more food in the refrigerator. Generally, processed foods are more “energy dense” than garden-fresh foods; they contain less water and fiber but more added fat and sugar, which make them both less satisfying and more calorific (Pollan, 2006). Provisions similar to fruits and vegetables contain high water content that permits individuals to feel satiated rather swiftly. Nutritious meals are more expensive, less tasty, and are more time consuming to prepare, fostering unhealthy eating patterns. On special occasions, parents will treat their children to McDonalds where everything is “super-sized”. Adults and children can acquire debauched consumption patterns because they don’t comprehend the quantity they have enthusiastically ingested. Pollan (2006) stated that “Well-designed fast food has a fragrance and flavor all...

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