Obesity and poverty

This documentary has some good ideas near the end, such as the fruit/veg. street vendor program.  The first part is a revealing look at the mentality of those who work in health and human service agencies.  Basically we are treated to an endless list of reasons why poor people are victims of some kind of conspiracy to keep them fat.  Here are their arguments.

-There is no fresh food in poor neighborhoods.  That is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is true that junk food abounds in poor areas.  And why is that?  Some kind of conspiracy?  No, it is because poor people fall prey more easily to slick marketing and instant gratification.   They have also chosen to be more ignorant.  If poor people demanded quality food, they would have it.  Instead, they happily buy McFood.  Sellers will give people-even poor people- what they demand.  People vote with their wallets, and currently poor people are favoring junk food.

-Quality food is too expensive.  This is another myth.  True, some quality food like organic is costly, but people can radically improve their diet if they shop smart, and make it at home, without spending more than McDonalds.  How much does a meal of beans, brown rice, a green salad and water cost?  One poor family had 6 dollar hamburgers (if it only costs a dollar you can imagine the crap quality) and 4 sodas, and the father is a diabetic?! Do not try to tell me that Coke is cheaper than tap water, and that the $10 that the family spend for the junk food meal, could not provide a healthy home made alternative for the same price or less.  Junk food also promotes addictive over-eating, so it is even more expensive.  Then when we add up the medical bills that junk food creates, it starts to become very expensive.  The cost argument is mainly used to justify their lazy habits.  It is easier to hop into McDonalds, than to have to buy and cook food.  But whoever said that quality and things worth doing were always along the path of least resistance?

In sum, the poor have too often allowed themselves to become ignorant, lazy and just give into junk food because it is quick, easy and tasty.  The path of least resistance.  One woman has 5 kids and feels that actually having to go out and shop, and cook food at home is akin to cruel and unusual punishment.  If she is that lazy and poor, then what is she doing with 5 kids?  That is an enormous self indulgence that she obviously cannot afford, and she and her kids are suffering, along with society.

I know that temptation abounds in poor areas, but succeeding in life is about struggling to get what we need, not giving into the easy way.  The people who work in these health agencies need to work to give poor people more healthy options, but they also need to stop looking for excuses for the poor´s bad decisions in life.  A little honesty and though love is needed, not endless excuses and rationalizations.

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2 Responses to Obesity and poverty

  1. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but
    after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and hecking back frequently!

    • internationalguy says:

      I am glad that you like it. Sorry for the pause in blogging, but I have been so busy lately that I have not had time. However, I hope to resume sometime next year when I get a chance.

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