Obesity In The United States Is A Socioeconomic Issue

Low-income senior citizens stood in long lines at Reading Terminal Market for free produce vouchers, highlighting the sheer number of Philadelphians who suffer from food insecurity. – Free Produce Vouchers Help Fight Food Insecurity For Low-income Seniors, KYWNews, July 2018

Food Choices and Diet Costs: an Economic Analysis, The Journal of Nutrition, April 2005

Obesity in the United States is a socioeconomic issue. It is related to limited social and economic resources and may be linked to disparities in access to healthy foods.

Added sugars and added fats are far more affordable than are the recommended “healthful” diets based on lean meats, whole grains, and fresh vegetables and fruit.

There is an inverse relationship between energy density of foods (kJ/g) and energy cost ($/MJ), such that energy-dense grains, fats, and sweets represent the lowest-cost dietary options to the consumer.

Good taste, high convenience, and the low cost of energy-dense foods, in conjunction with large portions and low satiating power, may be the principal reasons for overeating and weight gain.

Financial disparities in access to healthier diets may help explain why the highest rates of obesity and diabetes are found among minorities and the working poor. If so, then encouraging low-income households to consume more costly foods is not an effective strategy for public health. What is needed is a comprehensive policy approach that takes behavioral nutrition and the economics of food choice into account.

2 thoughts on “Obesity In The United States Is A Socioeconomic Issue

  1. Bix Post author

    Imagine an older person with disabilities taking 3 buses on a hot day to get one $20 voucher to buy fruits and vegetables. That’s how it is in Philadelphia where 28% of the population, many seniors, live below the federal poverty line.

    When you are born into poverty, your chances of escaping it are low. You are exposed to violence, crime, poor schools, broken families, and of course, poor diets. The physical and emotional trauma of growing up poor are crippling. Yet we tell these children, these young adults, these chronically ill seniors to “just eat your veggies.” It’s gets to me.

    ‘No Vacations From Poverty’ for Philadelphia’s Poor Residents


  2. Bix Post author

    I’ve had people say to me that the poor can eat local, organic produce by foraging for weeds that grow in the cracks in the sidewalks.



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