Obesity and Poverty Relationship

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Obesity is a growing health concern in today’s society. Not easy to comprehend is how poverty stricken individuals can become obese. It takes money to purchase food therefore one would think individuals in poverty would have less food resulting in underweight conditions. This misunderstanding makes way for resentment when observing the overweight individual using food stamps. It appears this person does not need more food; they are wasting my taxpayer money. As a consequence angry tweets and Facebook postings ensue. Unknown to some people is the relationship between obesity and poverty. Rising costs of fruits and vegetables, falling costs of processed foods, physiological reactions to the mental stresses related to poverty, partnered with lack of nutritional guidance leads to increased obesity in today’s society.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over one third of adults and about 17% of children in the United States are obese (2013). An individual is considered obese when their body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30. Table 1 shows an example BMI calculation using height and weight factors. Obese individuals are at risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, liver and gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, and infertility. With over one third of our adult population at risk for these diseases, obesity is an issue of tremendous importance.

There are many areas of cause for obesity in today’s society. Technology has provided decreased necessity for physically demanding jobs along with increased need for sedentary jobs. Additionally technology provided access to more sedentary past times such as watching television or...

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...elter uncertainties. More people are being negatively impacted by rising costs of healthy foods, falling costs of high caloric foods, and by physiological reactions to mental stresses brought on by poverty. Increased poverty has lead to increased obesity.

Works Cited

Center for Disease Control (2013). Overweight and obesity. Retrieved from
Flier, J (1998). What’s in a name? In search of leptin’s physiologic role. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1998 83:5, 1407-1413
Hojja, T. (2013). The economic analysis of obesity. Global Conference On Business & Finance Proceedings,8(2), 455-471.
United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (2012). Fruit and vegetable prices, snack substitutions. Retrieved from
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