Saturday, December 7, 2013

How "Thinness" Leads to Obesity

Trey Smith

It has been noted by many that the US has a weight problem. Simply put, a significant number of Americans are fat! This unhealthy situation knows no bounds. It affects rich and poor, male and female, young and old. While obesity crosses many categorical demarcations, it remains true that it touches the poor more than any other group.

On the surface, it sounds like a contradiction in terms. Obesity -- which often erroneously is equated with little more than overeating -- would seem to be the kind of issue at the opposite end of the spectrum for those who struggle to find enough to eat. When we think of the malnourished in the developing world, the pictures we see are of individuals who look like matchsticks! In the US, however, the malnourished often are grossly overweight.

How can this be?

It ends up working out this way in America because of the simple fact that good food is far more expensive than worthless crap. If you are financially poor -- I write from experience -- purchasing organic produce on a regular basis is out of the question. In fact, buying fresh produce of any kind -- including the majority which has been bombarded with all sorts of noxious pesticides -- is vastly more expensive than buying starchy and salt- and/or sugar-laden processed food devoid of much nutritional value.

To make matters worse, while a record number of Americans have signed up for Food Stamps, the program itself has been cut significantly -- you might say said program has been thinned. And so, with less food assistance, even conscientious consumers like Della and I (as of Jan. 1, our monthly Food Stamp allotment will drop to $158/month -- less than $40 per week for 2 adults) are being forced to purchase less nutritious foodstuffs than we would like.

It really comes down to pushing back against hunger. If we were to continue to purchase as much produce as before, we would end up missing a lot of meals each month. The rate things are going, I may turn into the vegetarian who eats few fresh vegetables!

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