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Are Low Income and Obesity Related?

Jul 24, 2008
Obesity rates among the poor reached a 147% increase in 2002 obesity according to medicinenet.com. This made those at the poverty level the fastest growing obesity group. Being obese for those at the poverty line is due to make circumstances which are out of their control. Some of the more common reasons why this group is so obese can be attributed to lack of exercise, food choices and no access to health food stores or supermarkets.

Living in government assisted housing, commonly known as "projects" are typical housing for those who are poor. The projects play host to gangs, shootings, and other more serious crimes. Many children and families report this as the number one reason they do not get out an exercise, they are too scared to be outside at all. Projects often do not have playgrounds, sidewalks or lawns where families or children can play. If there is a playground near by often it is a central meeting place for gangs and gang activity, again making it a less than ideal hang out for children or individuals looking for a place to exercise.

Imagine living off of Cup O'Noodle, macaroni and cheese and Hamburger Helper every night for dinner. This is a reality of those on food stamps or other food assistance programs. Trying to eat healthy on food stamps is near impossible. Often those who use foods stamps have many mouths to feed and they need to stretch the money as far as it will go. The Department of Human Services suggests buy cheep staple foods. Families who are on food stamps do not care how healthy or unhealthy a dinner or lunch is as long as their families are eating.

Often poor families do not buy organic foods and other food substitutes such as Egg Beaters or tofu as they are too expensive and food stamps generally do not cover expensive items when there are other alternatives such as real eggs. Many times low income families don't even bother with a grocery list of items as there are no grocery stores anywhere near their homes and lugging $400.00 worth of groceries on a bus alone is not easy. Many do not buy fresh fruits or vegetables since one they can not afford to buy fresh produce every week and two there is no where in the inner city to buy these items.

Large cities such as New York, Chicago or Atlanta often lack a supermarket or health food store in close proximity to inner city living. Many project tenets find groceries at Circle K's or Quickie Marts which generally stock cheep foods but they are not always healthy foods. Sciencedaily.com reports that one of the leading reasons of obesity among the poor is lack of grocery stores in their neighborhoods. There are no farmers markets offering organic produce or health food stores with tofu, these people get what they can at corner markets.

Often people make many excuses why they have become obese. Sometimes it is because they are too busy and can't find time to eat right an exercise. However being poor should be no excuse for being over weight. The odds are defiantly against those in a low income bracket. It has become more important then ever to take care of yourself regardless of your income level. The rising costs of health care are not going down, and by being obese you are not part of the solution.
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