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Connection Between Poverty and Obesity Essays

According to Wall Street Journal, “More than 33% of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year were obese, compared with 24. 6% of those who earn at least $50,000 per year. ” (Izzo 2011) Processed foods such as cheeseburger or French fries tend to be cheaper than buying healthier ingredients and making home cooked food. When people have lower incomes, they do suffer from food insecurity, which is an important connection between poverty and obesity.
Two reasons can contribute to obesity: parents are working and are no longer at home with their children and therefore not able to cook balanced meals; and foods with high fat are cheaper than healthy foods. It has been said that if a person is obese, they must have enough to eat, which this is simply not true. In the U. S. today, poverty is the leading cause of obesity. To be even more specific, parents are responsible because kids eat meals inside their vehicles while being shuttled from home to school to aftercare. “What children eat is a function of what they are fed.
The people responsible for feeding children are parents. If we are going to see any changes, then it is parental behavior that will need to change. ” (Kosterich 2011) Parents often feel guilty, but have difficulty finding the time to plan and prepare meals that everyone will eat. The reason for this, if there is limited food in the house, a low-income family may give their children fast food because it is cheap compared to their local markets. It is the parents who decide to buy high calories foods off of the Dollar menu. Parents also determine how much the kid will eat.
If the family only has a few dollars in their wallet, they would’ve picked a hamburger for $1 over a loaf of bread with the same price. Until the kid is old enough to make decisions for themselves, the parents are responsible for everything. If they don’t serve the right portions or use healthy food or make their kids go out and play, then it is the parents fault. “It is not about blaming parents. It is about telling it straight. Unless we tell parents that what their children eat is their responsibility we will not see change. The only people who can change the eating patterns of children are parents. (Kosterich 2011) Most of the kids nowadays are either holding an iPad on the couch or playing video games all day long. We can’t blame a kid for being fat, when they actually don’t know better. Another reason that contributes obesity is the misunderstandings on price tag of healthy food. Low income families buy food that is available and affordable to them.
“National grocery store chains have hard data that prove that people who live in low-income neighborhoods will not buy their products. The stores that sell fast-food have equally good data that almost guarantees that they will be successful selling fast food. (Young A. , 2011) Therefore, most of the stores that are opened in their neighborhoods are fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. Both of these stores mostly sell foods that are unhealthy. They tend to buy fast foods rather than fresh fruits and vegetables, because fast foods are more affordable to them. Compare to fresh fruits and vegetables, fast foods are cheaper, more convenient, and it doesn’t need much time to process. Most of the people understood that fast foods are unhealthy, but low income families’ choices are very limited.
Generally, processed food is less expensive to make and it does not need to be fresh. It can be frozen and stored in a warehouse for a long time before fast food companies need to order it. And, processed foods are easier to prepare. They also don’t have to worry about whether or not the food is organic or not. What exactly does organic means? “Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation.
Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. ” (Forstel) Do we know where exactly the chicken nugget from McDonald’s come from? All they have to do is just throw the whole chicken in a blender, toss it onto an assembly line and let some giant mechanical cutter chop it up into bite-sized nuggets for company. It is also amazing how long it takes a healthy product to gain customers compared to a greasy or boxed product. This most likely has to do with the culture.
Lower-income parents who are working full-time or at more than one job may have less time to be physically active and show this sort of healthy behavior for their kids. (Harding) One of the solutions is never blame the kid fat or obese. Try to not make a big deal out of their weight problem and try to make changes that they do not notice because weight loss is not a good approach for most young children, since their bodies are growing and developing. Overweight children should not be put on a diet unless a physician supervises one for medical reasons.
A restrictive diet may not supply the energy and nutrients needed for normal growth and development. The most important strategies for preventing obesity are healthy eating behaviors, regular physical activity, and reduced sedentary activity such as watching television and movies, playing computer games, and tapping the iPad on the couch. These strategies are part of a healthy lifestyle that should be taught during early childhood. Parents can help prevent childhood obesity by providing healthy meals and snacks, daily physical activity, and nutrition education.
Healthy meals and snacks provide nutrition for growing bodies while promoting healthy eating behavior and attitudes. Never buy or keep any junk food in the house and have father or mother to rotate for cooking. Plan healthy snacks at specific times including two food categories. Apple wedges and whole grain crackers are good examples. Fruits, vegetables, grains, low-sugar cereals, low fat dairy products, and lean meats and meat alternatives will provide best nutrition. Avoid excessive amounts of fruit juices, which contain high sugars, but fewer nutrients than the fruits they come from.
Have the kids outside of the house besides playing games all day long will reduce health risks and helps weight management. Participate in family physical activity time on a regular basis, such as walks, bike rides, hikes, and active games because both children and adults will be benefit from it. Nutrition education helps young children develop an awareness of good nutrition and healthy eating habits for a lifetime. Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV. Eating in front of the TV may make it difficult to pay attention to feelings of fullness and may lead to overeating.
Now that we know all processed food is bad because it’s cheap and is one of the reasons that lead to obesity. Eating healthy is a great way to avoid obesity and organic food is one good example. It may be more expensive than other regular food in a supermarket but effect of it is unquestionable. Places like Wal-Mart is already making the move by putting organic foods more accessible and affordable, develop packaging that makes healthier food more identifiable, address food desert issues and increase their support for nutrition programs.
Organic food has no chemicals in it and we are adding a more wholesome option when you eat organic. Many of the chemicals found in non-organic foods have been linked to many types of cancer. (Staff Writer) By eating more organic foods, our body will be healthy and in turn we have more strength and energy. Choosing foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients is important in planning a healthy diet to prevent obesity. Thus, eating more fruits and vegetables can help prevent obesity.
Fruits and vegetables contain few calories, but contain many vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for optimal healthy. They are also served before and after the meal. When people talk about fat, they will most likely relate to bad things. But fat is necessary for us to live because it protects organs, covers nerves and forms the cell membrane for the billions of cells in the body. Since we all eat foods with fat, we should choose foods that have healthy fats and avoid foods with unhealthy fats.
Healthy fats are found in fish, nuts and olive and canola oil. Avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats, such as fried foods. After choosing to eat healthy foods, we must be conscious of the portion sizes of the foods. Although we may be eating healthier food, we may still be eating too much, which will result in obesity because we are still eating too many calories. Therefore, we must slowly reduce the portion sizes until we can comfortably eat as much food as we can fit on a saucer. Continuing to eat small portions will prevent obesity.
The truth between obesity and poverty is that the increase in obesity rates is mainly related to people’s incomes and a lot less to do with choices. Although Corporate America should hold some blame, they are the ones that made all unhealthy items cheap and big in sizes. It is a challenge to eat healthy foods on a limited budget, especially with healthy food prices so high. And, it is a challenge for the parents to stay home and cook food for their kids. But we should consider their health and future. There are local farmer markets out there with reasonable price or cheaper than regular markets.
We should all eat healthier and exercise more, and be more aware of the long term health effects of our short term actions.
References
Forstel. (n. d. ). What does “organic” mean?. Retrieved from http://www. organic. org/education/faqs Harding, A. (2012, May 01). As childhood obesity improves, will kids in poverty be left behind?. Retrieved from http://www. cnn. com/2012/05/01/health/childhood-obesity-poverty/index. html Izzo, P. (2011, July 07). Retrieved from http://blogs. wsj. com/economics/2011/07/07/the-connection-between-obesity-and

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