Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The nation's poor are too fat. You gotta love America

Several years ago, I created quite a stir by arguing, in a debate in front of the Louisville Forum, that the chief health problem among the poor is not hunger, but obesity. The public health authorities (to use a technical term) flipped out. They couldn't deny my data, which I had derived exclusively from federal government sources, but they had all kinds of excuses about how what I said was misleading.

And this from people who are claiming there is a "hunger" problem in America.

Now comes more evidence that poverty in American is characterized chiefly by eating too much. The report, from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, has Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina as the five states with the highest rates of obesity. It does not make any claims about the relation between poverty and obesity, but what do you want to bet that if you took the mean income and compared it to the level of obesity, you would have a strong correlation?


Anonymous said...

One can buy many more calories than one can other nutritional content; in fact, many people are obese but critically undernourished. The issue is not that the poor in America cannot afford food, but often that they cannot afford healthier food (vastly more expensive for calorie count).

Lee said...

I guess that means we need to have a special program to buy arugula and a nice balsam vinaigrette for the hungr.. er, critically undernourished.

Sorry, but if you have enough money to buy Cheetos and Pepsi, you can afford to buy dried beans, rice, brussels sprouts, and chicken. Even the "critically undernourished" have choices, if only they would care to use them in a way that would make you happy.

Art said...

So Martin, are you claiming that there is not a good correlation between poverty and the ability to put food on one's table?

Martin Cothran said...


I'm claiming that there is not a good correlation between what federal authorities and other government-types call poverty and the actual condition of poverty.

Martin Cothran said...

Or, to put it more specifically, between what the Authorities say is "hunger" and the real condition of hunger.