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Connection between Poverty and Obeseity - Research Paper Example

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The Connection between Obesity and Poverty Connection between Poverty and Obesity The connection between obesity and poverty has become a very common topic of debate especially in America where obesity has come up as a major health risk in the population and an area which contributes to a major chunk of health expenses…
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Connection between Poverty and Obeseity
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Download file to see previous pages Thus contrary to public opinion we find that people from the lower socio-economic strata of society are at more risk of becoming overweight and obese than wealthier individuals. One fact that an average person commonly ignores is that malnutrition is of two types; macro malnutrition and micro malnutrition. Macro malnutrition is the one which most people know about and in this form a person does not eating enough to support his dietary requirement which leads to a significantly lower than optimal weight, deficiency and other complications associated with malnutrition. On the other hand micro malnutrition is the form of malnutrition in which an individual is not meeting his nutritional requirement (although they might be eating enough or even over eating) and this is because they are eating food with little nutritional value i.e. “empty calories”. Micro nutrition is more prevalent in impoverished people since they have a limited supply of select food items, which eventually leads to weight gain. In my view the above mentioned point is the basis for the trend of poverty related obesity although it is influenced by a web of other reasons which supplement each other and eventually lead to obesity. (Izzo, 2006) (Roush, 2005) Before discussing the connection between poverty and obesity and the reasons behind it further, we should look at how obesity is defined and its causes so that the topic can be appreciated better. Obesity is accumulation of excess fat in a person’s body and is associated with a lot of factors e.g. genetics, smoking etc. and not only over eating. It is measured by calculating a person’s BMI (body mass index) which is found by dividing the square of a person’s weight in kilograms with the square of their height in meters. A BMI of thirty or above is classified as obesity. At the same time weight gain is the direct result of inequality in the intake and consumption of calories i.e. a person eats more calories than burns them. Thus from this information we can see that obesity is not only dependent upon the amount of food but equally so on the type i.e. a high calorie diet. There are many reasons why obesity is seen to follow a socio economic gradient. One of the most important is that of food insecurity among poor people. Food insecurity is defined as “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally acceptable or safe foods” (Carlson SJ, 1999). Food insecurity among poor people allows them very little variability in the type of food they eat and they are generally seen to eat the same items repeatedly. In the Nationwide Food Consumption Survey carried out in 1977-78, in which households were asked to describe the kind of food they normally eat it was seen that participants from underprivileged backgrounds predominantly replied that they ate enough but not the kind they wanted to eat. Although this statement is not very specific about the nutritional value of the food they ate, the picture becomes clearer when we look at the energy density of food items along with the cost of these items. Foods which have a high energy density are generally those with very little water content and thus last longer before decaying as compared to food items which have a higher water content e.g. fruits and vegetables. Since perishable goods are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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