The Correlation Between Obesity and Income

The+Correlation+Between+Obesity+and+Income

Marianela Pina de la Hoz, Staff Writer

Looking back at childhood, most people will first recall their obsession with a toy, or a first crush. But most of my childhood memories consist of my divorced mother struggling to make ends meet. I remember being happy when the dollar store sold chicken, but unbeknownst to me it most likely had unimaginable amounts of antibiotics and hormones. Still though, it was a meal for kings despite its questionable color and price. As studies show, my case was proof of the link between obesity and income. Yet articles such as the one on obesity written by Jane E. Brody, fail to take into account the difference in pricing between healthy greens and foods that contain high fat, sugar, and processing. The failure to acknowledge the fact as to why low-income families prefer sizable portions for less money rests on the reality that many of these people don’t know where their next meal will come from.

The problem lies within a damaged system, low-income families end up with poorer health than those in elevated economic positions due to low-quality food establishments in areas of poverty, therefore limiting options for low-income families in terms of food. Grocery stores that contain fresh produce and healthier options are likely to be situated in better neighborhoods. There are also educational barriers in terms of health-conscious decisions. Many low-income families seldom have knowledge of healthy items that will fill children’s stomachs. Many health experts fail to establish a correlation between the obesity epidemic in America and the increasing amount of money needed to experience a quality life, which includes access to healthy food. Redressing the failure of our country in terms of providing low-income communities and households with access to affordable nourishing food, says a lot about our society. With the federal government creating legislation to dismiss people who receive more than $50 of welfare a month; the question of how millions of these economically disadvantaged families will be able to bear the increasing costs of produce and food remains unanswered.. The dismissal of 3 million people from federal assistance, formulates a massive problem, which the article fails to approach. 

The complexity of economic disparity proves itself not only to affect families financially but ultimately is manifesting itself into the well being of these individuals. The obesity epidemic is happening, but it’s not happening because most people are not choosing to eat healthily; it is happening because most Americans either don’t possess the knowledge of food consciousness or simply can’t afford to go hungry to eat healthier. The lack of understanding of this problem for people in better economic positions is highly concerning, as the number of people living paycheck to paycheck in America grows.

Citations:

“2020 Poverty Guidelines.” ASPE, 21 Jan. 2020, aspe.hhs.gov/2020-poverty-guidelines.

Cunningham, Peter J. “Why Even Healthy Low-Income People Have Greater Health Risks Than Higher-Income People.” Commonwealth Fund, 27 Sept. 2018, www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2018/healthy-low-income-people-greater-health-risks.

Dorning, Mike. “Trump Administration Moves to End Food Stamps for 3 Million.” Time, Time, 23 July 2019, time.com/5632313/trump-food-stamps-new-regulations/.

Greenlaw, Steven A., and David Shapiro. “Government Policies to Reduce Income Inequality.” Principles of Economics 2e, OpenStax Economics, 12 Jan. 2017, opentextbc.ca/principlesofeconomics2eopenstax/chapter/government-policies-to-reduce-income-inequality/.

Marmot, Michael, et al. “The Influence Of Income On Health: Views Of An Epidemiologist.” Health Affairs, www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.21.2.31.

Stronks, K, et al. “A Higher Prevalence of Health Problems in Low Income Groups: Does It Reflect Relative Deprivation?” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, BMJ Group, Sept. 1998, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1756763/.

Woolf, Steven H., et al. “How Are Income and Wealth Linked to Health and Longevity?” Urban Institute, 2 Feb. 2017, www.urban.org/research/publication/how-are-income-and-wealth-linked-health-and-longevity.