My Speech Victoria Rock September 17, 2012 Childhood Obesity in Low-Income Families Hello Everyone, How you doing? Nervous like me I bet! Tonight I want to open your eyes in regards to childhood obesity in low-income families, and put an end to the myth that they eat nothing but “Junk Foods. ” And I’m going to show WHY they are having a hard time fighting the battle of the bulge, because this is something I deal with on a daily basis. Just like with everyone else there are many factors that can contribute to obesity in children today; * Pop-culture * Genetics * Health issues * Medications * And self-esteem
But children of low-income families not only face these issues but they have the added issues of * Cost of healthy foods * Lack of affordable gyms * But most of all the lack of funds needed every month to provide a healthy life style for their families. I know this to be a true fact because I face these issues everyday with my daughter. And truth be told according to the Federal Government Monthly Standard Income, I live below poverty level. But we will get into that later. Everyone knows what healthy foods are; * Fresh fruits & vegetables * Whole grains * Fish * Skinless chicken breast * Etc.
And to maintain a healthy weight these are the foods you need to buy and eat daily. When we think of un-healthy foods we picture; * Chips * Cookies * Candy * Soda * Etc. But did you actually know that 90% of All Foods sold in your local grocery stores are In-fact Un-healthy! I know what you’re thinking…No Way!! You got all kinds of canned, bottled, boxed, and frozen foods that you can buy that has everything you need to eat healthy. But the fact is processed foods have been altered from their natural state, either for safety reasons or convenience. The methods used for processing foods include; * Canning * Freezing * Refrigeration Dehydration * Or any other process that takes away from the natural state of the food. And for all you young men, the ingredients used in these processed foods could have a major impact on your sperm if you plan on having kids. So how can you tell if a food is healthy or not? Just remember this simple rule: The longer the shelf life, the shorter the human life. Now let’s look at the cost of healthy foods and healthy living. Two Doctors, Karen Jetter and Diana Cassady, in the Los Angeles/Sacramento area, did a study involving 25 grocery stores using the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan and a Healthier market basket.
They were trying to understand why low-income families were having a hard time eating healthy. They found that the Thrifty Food Basket which is approved by the government to be healthy cost $194 dollars for 2 weeks worth of food. The healthier basket cost $203 dollars. That is a 35 – 40% higher cost between the 2 baskets. Keep these figures in mind because I will be getting back to them later. Everyone knows the best way to stay healthy besides eating right is proper exercise. There are over 108 million Americas overweight or obese and the majority of them are low-income children and families.
Well go to the gym you say! Well let’s look at that. The cost of an affordable gym facility is too high for low-income families at $30 - $60 dollars a month per person. And I can honestly say that even the YMCA, which was suppose to be established to help low-income families, actually discriminates against them as well as obese and overweight people by charging anywhere from $22 - $72. 50 per month per person and depending on your age and size. So where does that leave children of low-families? It leaves them to play in the streets, broken down parks, and garbage filled allies.
Now comes the time I have been looking forward to, time to prove my facts, and my point. I could show you all kinds of charts and statistics the Government is trying to use to show that things are not that bad for low-income families, but instead I am going to use my own information and paperwork to hopefully open everyone’s eyes to the real truth on the struggles that low-income families face on a daily basis and why our children are not eating and exercising to maintain a healthy weight. As you can see in my diagram, according to the Government Monthly Income Standard for a family of 2 should be $1892 dollars.
My actual monthly income is $770 dollars. That is $1122 dollars below the Government standards. Now keep in mind, out of the $770 dollars, the state only allows me $235 dollars for rent a month and $402 dollars for heat and air, which leaves a positive cash flow of $133 dollars each month. But we all know how life is and it is in fact not a positive cash flow when you think, out of that $133 dollars I have to pay for insurance, transportation, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies to keep home free of germs, not mention other things that pop-up like clothes, shoes, school supplies, etc.
This leaves 0 dollars for, a gym, or even the YMCA to help my daughter and myself to get fit. Now remember I told you to keep in mind the cost of the U. S. Departments Agricultures Thrifty Food Plan? This is the food the Government said is needed to eat healthy! Well let’s compare the cost for these healthy foods to the actual amount of food support given to a family of 2. Their basket for 2 weeks came to $194 dollars; my monthly food support is $277 dollars or $70 dollars a week or $140 dollars every 2 weeks.
So if I buy their basket I could feed my daughter and myself for 2 weeks with $83 dollars left over, but what about the other 2 weeks in the month, how am I going to feed us with that? It can’t be done! This is why I say low-income families have no choice but to feed our children and families these un-healthy foods full of fructose corn syrup, sugars, salts, and many other chemicals. Thanks to the Government the cost of process foods outweighs the cost of healthy foods when you’re trying to keep your child from going to bed hungry.
So keep this in mind every time you sit down to eat your meal’s and want to talk about how low-income families are obese and draining the system. 99% of low-income families are only eating 1 meal a day, not the 3 recommended by the Government, because in order to survive and not go totally hungry, they have to spread their food out to last a month. If there was more help for low-income families to fight the problems that cause obesity in our children, then maybe we would see a major decline in the obesity rate.
And if you think I’m not speaking the truth then try this. Take $138 dollars per person in your family, So if you have a family of 4 that would be $522 dollars for 1 month and spend only that amount, no more, and try to feed everyone 3 meals a day plus 1 snack, of healthy foods and see how well you survive. I would be willing to bet that most would be going back to the store to buy more food. But low-income families can’t do that. Thank you for listening