Fat Broke: The Link Between Poverty and Obesity

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Fat Broke: The Link Between Poverty and Obesity

The Facts at A Glance:
34.9% of US adults were obese in 2011-2012

In the US, the Census Bureau considers poverty as a family of four making $23,492 ($11,720 per person) or less in one year
● The Census Bureau considers poverty an annual income of less than $11,720 for an individual and $23,492 for a family of four
● In 2010, 15.1% of Americans lived in poverty. THAT’S 46 million people

Identifying the Link Between Poverty and Obesity:
● Between 1986 and 2002, adults in the lowest income and education groups had consistently higher BMI (body mass index) than adults in the highest income and education groups

US counties with poverty rates higher than 35% have obesity rates 145% greater than those in wealthy countries.

Why?

A Sedentary Lifestyle

• Sedentary people expend less energy and are more prone to obesity, chronic metabolic disease and cardiovascular problems
• Possible Contributing Factors:
◦ People are less able to afford a gym membership
◦ Violent areas overlap with poor areas, preventing people from being active outside
◦ Fewer parks and athletic facilities are available to those living in poor areas.

Food Deserts
• Poverty-dense areas often lack quality, fresh food. The inexpensive alternatives tend to be low in nutritional value and high in preservatives, fats, salt and refined sugar
• 43% of households living below the poverty line are uncertain of having or unable to acquire sufficient food
• Food stamps provide a government allotment of approximately $1.50 per meal, per person
• The food stamp market has quadrupled from $20 – $80 billion in the last 12 years

The Economics of Obesity

● Obesity-related chronic disease accounts for 70% of US health costs
○ $190 billion in annual medical costs
● For those with diabetes, the health care costs amount to $9 billion/year
○ $9,000 per new diabetes patient/year

Poverty and Obesity

Sources:
http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/are-low-income-people-at-greater-risk-for-overweight-or-obesity/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198075/
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/11/13/obesity-and-poverty-dont-always-go-together/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2013/11/09/too-much-of-too-little/?tid=sm_fb
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2009/09/give_me_your_tired_your_poor_your_big_fat_asses_.2.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/where-does-obesity-come-from/283060/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449404/table/