The Link Between Poverty and Obesity

Exercise, diet and genetics have been attributed to the rise in obesity. However, researchers are finding out poverty may also be one of the reasons for rising obesity levels. Several studies show that people in low income group tend to be obese. The reason given by experts is that low-income households prefer high-calorie, low nutrient foods as they are cheap and easily accessible.

Poverty and Obesity Link:

Here are the reasons why low-income households are more likely to be obese:

  • Energy dense foods such as soft drinks, french fries, sugary foods are cheaper and easily accessible. Energy dense foods are high in calories and are low in nutrients. Since these foods are cheaper, people living in poverty may prefer these foods -  which can result in obesity in the long-term.
  • Healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meats, whole grains are more expensive than sugars, added fats. This may make it difficult for low-income households to buy healthy food
  • People living in low-income neighborhood may find it difficult to access healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits etc. Lack of access can also result in unhealthy food habits.

In trying to save money on food, people are may be increasing their calorie intake – which can make them obese.

The solution for poverty and obesity problem would be to conduct nutrition education, food education programs and cooking classes. Changes in food pricing, marketing and accessibility can also make a difference. As long as healthy foods remain expensive, the sugary, high-fat foods would remain attractive. The key is to educate people about the harmful effects of junk food and modify the pricing of the existing foods.

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