People in poverty or in the lower income brackets get the short end of the stick in so many ways. Besides living in neighborhoods that are infested with crime and drugs, it’s hard to afford things like health care and nutritious food.
The health care part is pretty obvious, especially for anyone remotely aware of what it costs. But the idea of being at a disadvantage when trying to stay thin and eating a healthy diet may not be so obvious.
I’ve expressed my views here before on what I see as the unfortunate side effect of cheaper items that can be bought via mega-stores, like Wal-Mart. The “big box” stores, as they are called, give us the ability to buy many different items for much less since they buy in massive quantities. But the problem is, much of that food is processed and prepackaged, which is invariably high in sodium, preservatives, starch, refined sugar, and ultimately calories.
Previously, I mentioned a study that asserted people can lose weight by shopping at places like Wal-Mart because you will be left with more money to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. Excuse the cynicism, but the people involved in the study are taking a large leap of faith if they think most people are taking money saved and thinking “You know what, I have an extra $20, let’s go to the produce section and buy some fruits and vegetables.”
A Canadian study seems to support my views. It found that members of poor households consistently have a hard time affording high-quality food, and end up eating nutritionally risky diets. It also suggests that in poor homes, adults and teens, rather than very young children, are the most likely to be subsisting on diets low in vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, grains and lean meat.
The study refers to poorer people having issues with “food security,” which means they are without the resources to feed themselves enough or are unable to purchase healthful foods for economic reasons.
Nearly 12.6 million households (11%) in the United States were “food insecure” in 2005, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
So is there anything that can be done for the poor, or are they doomed to eat nutritional inferior food unless they make a move up the income ladder? I am surely not the person to ask, but it seems like one issue is to provide fresh fruit and vegetable stands in urban areas, the common location for our country’s poor.
Blog Action Day is an annual event uniting bloggers from across the Web to discuss one very important topic. This year, the selected topic is poverty. DietsInReview.com is proud to be one of more than 11,000 blogs raising awareness.
October 15th, 2008