Obesity and Poverty

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steve...@aol.com

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Jul 9, 2008, 7:35:04 PM7/9/08
to Mennonite Poverty Forum
Believe it or not, poverty is a leading cause of obesity, which leads
to increased health problems and a decreased life expectancy.


There is a statistical relationship between poverty and obesity in the
U.S. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040105071229.htm)

In developing countries, where the issue is still hunger, there is
also an issue of increasing obesity,
(http://www.fao.org/FOCUS/E/obesity/obes1.htm ;


What does this mean? It means that if you live on a low income, you
are more likely to be obese and thus to have a lower life expectancy
and a lower quality of life. Obesity is increasingly not a lifestyle
choice, but the result of limited choices.

Many of us consider obesity to be the result of overeating or of
making poor choices in eating. This is still true for some, but most
of the time when we see an obese person, it is because they are
limited in their nutrition choices.

I have noticed that in most free meals that are offered the homeless
and low income folks in the Portland area, the fat content is high,
the carbs are high and the actual nutritional content is low. This is
the same kind of choice that developing countries have. Many
countries are importing the high fat, low nutrition choices the
developed countries have rejected.

Supermarkets put on sale and make readily available at the end of
aisles high calorie items that have little or no nutritive value.
Thus, the genocide of the poor proceeds by allowing milk and eggs to
increase in price, while Pepsi and Little Debbie cakes are more
economically accessible. If you have a hundred or so dollars a month
to spend on food, one would always make the choice to go for quantity
rather than quality. Better one to eat sugar than to go hungry for a
few days.

For those of us who are serving the poor, especially offering meals or
food boxes, we need to think about what we give—not just that we have
enough to give, but that we offer nutrition. Let’s make the attempt
to offer dark greens, broccoli, low fat proteins and whole grains.
Let’s avoid serving cakes, white bread, sodas and even most juices.
Yes, the bad nutrition items are easier to get cheaply, but let’s not
participate in the destruction those whom we are supposed to be
assisting.

Todd Lehman

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Jul 10, 2008, 11:52:43 AM7/10/08
to mennonite-p...@googlegroups.com
Thank you Steve for brining this to our attention. Too often we who are
privelidged do not even see the reality of what poverty does. Food banks
tend to get a lot of the low nutrition items that don't sell in the grocery
store. I have often wondered about what problems that may cause. Now my
eyes are opened to the real impact.


Shalom,

Todd Lehman
Zion Mennonite Church

boxes, we need to think about what we give-not just that we have enough to


give, but that we offer nutrition. Let's make the attempt to offer dark
greens, broccoli, low fat proteins and whole grains.
Let's avoid serving cakes, white bread, sodas and even most juices.
Yes, the bad nutrition items are easier to get cheaply, but let's not
participate in the destruction those whom we are supposed to be assisting.


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