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Mon Mar 18, 2013, 02:16 PM

The Connection Between Obesity and Poverty

A new report finds shows that Americans are getting fatter and notes worse rates among those with low incomes, but some states don’t exactly fit the pattern.

Our colleague Katherine Hobson on the Health Blog points to a study from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that looks at the increase in obesity rates across the U.S.

The report notes higher obesity rates nationally among low-income adults. “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,” the authors state.

Comparing poverty rates in the U.S. with obesity rates, a pretty strong correlation emerges. Check out this map on poverty rates from the Census Bureau and look at this map on obesity rates, where you can see a lot of overlap. For example, Mississippi has both the highest poverty rate and the highest obesity rate in the country.

But as the report notes, there isn’t just one factor leading to increases in obesity, as some states clearly buck the trend. Maryland has the second-lowest poverty rate in the country, but is near the national average for obesity.

On the other side of the coin, New Mexico has the third-highest poverty rate in the U.S., but has a below average rate of obesity. New York has a higher than average poverty rate, but is among the 10 lowest states in obesity.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/07/07/the-connection-between-obesity-and-poverty/

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Reply The Connection Between Obesity and Poverty (Original post)
MindMover Mar 2013 OP
Kalidurga Mar 2013 #1
Trillo Mar 2013 #2
Igel Mar 2013 #3
MindMover Mar 2013 #4

Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 02:32 PM

1. Maybe we should look at the 66% who are not obese...

I believe that poverty does play a role in obesity. I am pretty sure it is a factor for me at least. I have lived in a food Oasis before and it's very difficult in those areas to get fresh food everyday or even every 3 days or so. It just is, I had to take the bus everywhere and that can get somewhat expensive as well, even with a card since you pay extra for rush hour or pay extra to not have to carry change for rush hour. Also since you take the bus it takes longer to commute, to shop, to get to appointments, etc... and it's also true that eating healthy can be a bit more expensive if you don't know what you are doing and I didn't.

So, that being said. I think we can learn more by studying the people who are both poor and not obese. Like do they really eat different foods or do they just eat significantly less. Or do they eat the same amount, but are much more active. Or do they eat somewhat better food and are somewhat more active. Or are they poor, but have access to a car or better access to healthier foods. Or are they poor and have less commuting time to their jobs, appointments, grocery stores, etc... Take NYC for example I have heard people mostly walk everywhere so that is probably a factor even if you are poor if you have to walk everywhere you will probably be thinner. I think a study will show that even among poor people lifestyles can be vastly different and that even with the challenge of poverty a person isn't doomed to be obese after all 2 in 3 are not.

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Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 04:03 PM

2. Kind of interesting that NY is "among the 10 lowest states in obesity", and yet Bloomberg

did his large-size soft-drink prohibition citing obesity as a rationale.

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Response to MindMover (Original post)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 09:56 PM

3. Silly article.

There's evidence for a decent analysis of variance to be run.

There's evidence that it's been run, and the article is all about the fact that while poverty and obesity have some correlation, there are all sorts of confounds.

Then it mentions possibly more important factors. But they're not a pressing agenda issue, so, well, we'll just sort of toss them in at the end and hope nobody reads that far because they don't advance the purpose of the article.

I always feel oddly swindled after reading this kind of "report." "Trade me some of your time for some useful information," and instead I get pablum. Soured, oversalted pablum.

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Response to Igel (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 10:08 PM

4. I liked the map ... only reason I included in my series ..

otherwise you are correct, its the same ol wsj pablum ...

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