Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Why the Poor are Fatter than the Rich

When I was around ten years old, my mother had a friend who was an obese hippie.   I asked my mother how someone poor could be so fat.  She told me that all the cheapest food, like macaroni and cheese or hot dogs is fattening.

My mother was right.  An review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the relationship between obesity and diet quality, dietary energy density, and energy costs.  Among other things, they concluded that

  • Obesity rates are highest in population groups with the highest poverty rates.
  • There is an inverse relationship between calories per kilogram and cost per kilogram such that foods composed of refined grains, added sugars, or fats may represent the lowest-cost option to the consumer.
So how do you avoid becoming fat, unhealthy and prone to diabetes if you have a limited food budget?   If you have just £1 to spend on dinner, you can always buy some sort of processed ready meal.  It's not so easy to put together a healthy £1 dinner made with fresh ingredients.  It is possible though. With smart planning, shopping and cooking you can make something 'cheap as chips' that is far more nutritious. 

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