Final Research Project
Obesity and Income
A child walks down the fruit and vegetables isle, looks up at her mother with glossy big brown eyes and asks her if they could buy some apples and carrots for the week. The mother stares back down at the child and says, “We cannot afford healthy foods honey.” As families start to run out of money at the end of the month, the amount they eat decreases exponentially. Nearly 27% of LowIncome people are likely to be hospitalized from hypoglycemia in the last week of the month than in the first.
Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too low. An expert on obesity,
Adrianna McIntyre says, “We can't separate social policy and health policy for lowincome households” (O’brien). A lot of americans do not fully understand the situations the homeless and hungry are in. There are presumptions made about them, but this paper will clarify some myths. There are many factors that contribute to being obese, but a persons income is the primary factor.
How is obesity different than being overweight? Obesity defines itself as having too much body fat. Obesity can be caused from eating more food than your body can take in, drinking too much alcohol, or not getting enough exercise. As a child, the way a person eats can ultimately affect his/her food habits as adults. The foods that people
surround themselves with can have a positive or negative connotation to their body.
Overweight is defined as above a weight considered normal or desirable. As people look themselves in the the mirror, a 120 female girl can state she is “overweight” because that is what she perceives herself as. Overweight is ultimately powered by the individual. If they believe they are overweight, then they take necessary precautions in trying to lose it.
People with lowincome and food insecurity are vulnerable to obesity. They face unique challenges in their day to day lives trying to establish healthy eating habits for themselves and their family. Low income neighborhoods often lack an established and quality grocery store. Residents are limited to buying healthy foods due to little transportation services and the high costs of buying healthy foods. Refined grains, added sugars, and fats are generally inexpensive and readily available in lowincome communities. For example, if a family of four were to stop by McDonalds for dinner, they can order four cheeseburgers for four dollars. If that same family were to buy a pound of strawberries from walmart, it would cost them just as much. Now, a burger is going to fill up an individual more than a couple of strawberries for the night. By ordering the four cheeseburgers, the family is trying to maximize their calories per dollar in order to stave off hunger. A lot of people say that eating a lot of calories fills a person up longer. That statement is true and false. A burger is going to fill someone up more than a handful of almonds, but the nutrition, calorie, and fat content in the almonds will be healthier than the food ingredients in the burger. Besides the unhealthy choices, physical activity is another problem with lowincome people. Lower income communities tend to have less
recreational space. Without parks, green spaces, bike paths, and recreational facilities, getting the physical activity needed for the day can be challenging. Within some poor communities there are small parks to go play or hang out in, but the park may not be an attractive place to exercise due to little to no trees, trash scattered over the grass, and the playground graffiti. Professor Dr. Claude Bouchard is the Sr. Endowed Chair in
Genetics and Nutrition. He is an expert in relating physical activity and obesity. He says,
“Regular physical activity 4560 min per day prevents unhealthy weight gain and obesity, whereas sedentary