Does being poor make you fat? Quite possibly. In the videos below, you’ll see how poverty and obesity are linked.
The first video kicks off with the results of a joint study by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study found that eight of the ten states with the highest obesity rates are in the South. Over 33% of Mississippi’s residents are obese, making it the fattest state in the country. Tied for second place are Alabama and Tennessee, which each have a 30% obesity rate.
Research demonstrates that the reason for the high rates of obesity in the South go hand in hand with the region’s correspondingly high poverty rates. Mississippi is not only the fattest state in the union, but also the poorest. One in five of the state’s citizens live below the poverty line. While the median household income in the U.S. is about $50,000 a year, Mississippi’s median income is a low $37,000.
Fattening Foods Are Cheap
The South at large is the country’s poorest region. How might poverty cause obesity? One big way is that poor people tend to eat lots of fattening food. Processed foods are cheap, and low income people are a lot more likely to buy high calorie processed foods than relatively pricier fruits and fresh vegetables.
Fresh Foods Are Harder for the Poor to Find
A study by the University of South Carolina discovered that grocery stores are rarer in the rural and poverty stricken South. Small towns do have convenience stores, but fruits and vegetables are few and far between in these stores. Instead, convenience stores and small food stores in poor areas are more likely to be stocked with junk food.
The video goes on to say that exercise in poor areas in the South may be more difficult because the often hot temperatures outside discourage exercise. The video’s suggested solutions are exercising indoors or in the evening and making a monthly trip to a grocery store to buy healthier foods. The video also points out that federal and state aid programs are available to help poor people eat healthier.
Related: 7 Ways Being Poor Can Kill You
It’s Harder for the Poor to Exercise
According to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, people who make less than $20,000 a year are half as likely to exercise and have a 50% higher chance of using diet pills to try to drop unwanted pounds.
The researchers speculated that the high stress of living in poverty might make it more difficult to exercise and eat right. Exercising isn’t easy for those who live in unsafe neighborhoods. Stress can cause emotional eating. It’s also hard for someone to get to the gym when they have to spend a large percentage of their time working to make ends meet.
See the video below to find out why childhood obesity is more likely to strike children in poor neighborhoods.
Article Source: Rich People Exercise, Poor People Take Diet Pills – The Atlantic