poor people don't diet?
July 7, 2004 04:34 PM

I've been reading to find more information on who diets, partly because I've seen a lot of people imply recently that poor people are fatter because they don't diet and exercise (which wildly contradicts my own experience as a former poor person) and partly because I just wonder about things.

Something interesting from my first round of research:

Dieters segmented by HOUSEHOLD INCOME

less than or equal to 130% of poverty
Percent of total: 16.2
Percent dieting: 15.2
Estimated total dieters at or below 130% of poverty (based on US census data): 5.07 million

more than 130% of poverty
Percent of total: 83.8
Percent dieting: 16.7
Estimated total dieters above 130% of poverty (based on US census data): 28.8 million

[from: Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Sept 2002 v102 i9
Americans on diet: results from the 1994-1996 Continuing Survey of
Food Intakes by Individuals. (Research). Sahasporn Paeratakul; Emily
E. York-Crowe; Donald A. Williamson; Donna H. Ryan; George A. Bray. Calculations based on the study excerpted from Google Answers.]

So, as of 1996 at least, poor people were only a tiny bit less likely to be on a diet than non-poor people.

Interesting, huh? Of course, we still don't know what those diets are specifically (and I haven't located the full text of that study for free yet), and it's still clear that poor people seem to be fatter.

So why is that? More to come as I find it.

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your wicked thoughts

My thoughts are IT IS CHEAPER to buy garbage junk food than produce, dairy or other more wholesome choices. Chips, sodapop as you States-side folk call it, no-name garbage snacks (instant soups & pastas included) and fast food are the cheapest way to live !!!
Instead of exploring the result of diet like obesity and its' relation to income or social-economic status, THIS is what I'd like to explore : we should be looking instead at what's BEHIND what's in the grocery carts of lower income people/families. The laws and regulations governing the manufacturing processes, labelling laws, the FDA, and the fresh food or agricultural industry. Look at France as an example- their fresh outdoor markets are THE place to find affordable, quality whole foods. The country supports their farming and agriculture, considering it the backbone of their culture. During presidential elections, their candidates give out blue ribbons at farmer's markets and give hands-on support to their agricultural labourers. I wonder if this is as equally encouraged in North America or if instead we choose to give huge tax breaks to manufacturers of "mass-processed-exportable-cheaply-made-additive-laden-soaked-with-trans-fats-and- partially-hydrogenated-oil-and-passed- quickly-by-the-FDA-even-though-quite-possibly-carcinogenic foods" ?

Nah.... we're definitely not like that.
We live in a democracy not a capitalist
society !

these are the thoughts of poke-it-with-a-stick on July 12, 2004 04:17 AM

As someone who lives on $5/day in food stamps, I will tell you it is difficult to buy enough fresh fruit and vegetables on that amount of money. Also, many poor people here work 2-3 jobs just to get by, so they don't have time to cook the slow, nutrtious foods our ancestors were raised on. Another factor related to what you have said above is that farmer's markets are usually not available to people on food stamps, but sometimes are to women on WIC. In the Pike Place Market in Seattle where I live, which is essentially a farmer's market, there is only two or three places that take food stamps. I could buy much more nutritous food there than at the grocery store, but not all places take food stamps. I would rather support local farmers and fishermen, bakeries, cheese makers, etc. but can't afford to. Pike Place has become pretty yuppied out lately, too, with designer food booths.
Another factor is food banks. They can only give out what is donated. Much of what is donated is fatty, sugar-filled, etc. When I lived at the Aloha in, about all we had was desserts to eat, because stores pull that stuff frequently, and it has to go somewhere. See my blog for more on this.
Barbara Ehrenreich, in her book "Nickled and Dimed" puts forth the suggestion that there is a conspiracy to make poor people fat. Maybe. Paul Campos in "The Obesity Myth" make the point that fat is the last place that Americans can show disgust.

these are the thoughts of Eileen on August 29, 2004 12:36 AM

I recently picked up some solar blankets at the local Kmart to ship via the mail to an orphanage in Africa as "solar ovens". You will find them in the auto department and for around a dollar. You can cut one into 4 pieces and make 4 "easy to carry" solar ovens to give to people short on firewood ("little fingers won't get burned this way either" ) These pieces can be folded and put in an envelope to mail with a letter explaining what they are. And for .80 cents they can be sent anywhere in the world.

I also put a packet of vegetable seeds in every envelope I send, they are only .10 cents at the local WalMart store (in the garden shop). If you have the kids do the same, hunger and poverty would certainly be lessened. One packet will incur no extra postal charges than the .80 cents needed to mail a letter sized envelope overseas nowadays. And they are truly a Blessing for people in need. There will always be someone around who can garden and show those you send the seeds to how to garden as well. Community Gardens work for everyone. PS: If you are helping in a drought prone area, have the gardeners dig a hole 1ft deep and 1ft around for each plant, this way the people bringing water, will be able to give the plants water easily and less will be spilt on the ground above to grow the weeds everyone complains of ... less watering and less hoeing between rows. Just have them protect the little plants from the sun until the plants grow big enough to shade them themselves.

Remember too, we send lots of clothing to people in need all over the world, but we don't send the tools families need to "mend" them like "sewing kits" (You can also put those small things in an envelope as well, like needles and thread wrapped around an index card.)

God Bless and be happy in your chosen work, helping children learn to help others !!! Please pass on this info to the kids. Thanks

Your Sister in Christ Jesus
Pomona, California

these are the thoughts of Joy Mary on February 19, 2005 05:04 PM

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