Tuesday, 22 September 2015

So why are the poor more likely to be obese?


We're most often told it's fast food. But this ain't so:

New data, released by the Centers for Disease Control, show that America’s love for fast food is surprisingly income blind. Well-off kids, poor kids, and all those in between tend to get about the same percentage of their calories from fast food, according to a survey of more than 5,000 people. More precisely, though, it’s the poorest kids that tend to get the smallest share of their daily energy intake from Big Macs, Whoppers, Chicken McNuggets, and french fries.

More evidence that planning controls (and bans) are futile since they simply don't address the problem. And if you think about it for a second, fast food is always less accessible to poorer people for the simple reason that it's a lot more expensive than buying food at the supermarket and cooking it yourself (OK sticking it in a microwave until it goes 'ping').

The answer lies in pleasure. Poverty is a (literally in too many cases) depressing state and when we're down we seek pleasure. Us rich folk have access to a much bigger choice of pleasures than poor folk. And those poor folk opt for cheap pleasures - TV, sex, fags, booze, drugs and - most commonly - the endless choice of cheap food in our shops.

The answer doesn't lie in making food more expensive but in actions to reduce poverty and present better opportunities to the poor. Those health fascists who argue for making food more expensive on public health grounds are simply making poverty worse meaning that more people will self-medicate their dreary life with cake.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At the risk of offending, the reason the "poor" are maybe obese is not pleasure but leisure and disposable income. I am old and from a working class background. We all worked hard manual jobs, we worked long hours and extra overtime when possible. We went to the pub but nursed a few drinks because we could not justify the spend. No computers, iPads or such. Our leisure time was active, walking the dog, gardening , local sports teams etc. our mothers and wives stayed home and cooked. We all had packed lunches for work. No sir poverty is not the cause and giving people more money and time is not the answer, that will in fact exacerbate the problem until people learn to compensate for having more money and time but less exercise.