If you take a look at America’s demographics, there is a tight correlation between socio-economic status and weight. The poorer you are, the higher the chances you will be overweight, and possibly afflicted with weight related disease such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes. In the past, being poor meant not getting enough calories. But these days, it means getting too many calories of the wrong kind. In 2014, there were 48 million households in the US that were food insecure. For people who have a hard time affording food, dollars are spent on food that is calorie-dense, not nutrient-dense. Food pantries and food banks are often a source of food for families that are in need of help, but many times the food they provide is not the healthiest. Think lots of canned foods (high in sodium, sugar) due to extended shelf life, and small amounts of fresh produce (short shelf life). Additionally, breadwinners in families that are struggling to make ends meet often work at several jobs and have very little time at home to spend cooking. Often, there is no readily available resource to help teach people how to prepare healthy meals in a short amount of time. While it’s true that a highly motivated individual will manage to eat healthy and lose weight no matter how much she earns, when looking at populations, not individuals, motivation is not enough. That’s why public health programs in communities that need help makes so much sense.
- food pantries that stock up on fresh whole foods and less on processed foods
- cooking classes that optimize for maximum nutrition and taste in minimum time
- educational programs for kids and parents
- motivating supermarket chains to open stores in “food deserts”.
Source: Libman et al – Food and Nutrition: Hard Truths About Eating Healthy – The New York Academy of Medicine, 2016
KISS Fact: If you want to eat healthy, you will and if you don’t, you won’t. I strongly believe this. In a earlier post, I should what I eat a lot of for lunch and I showed how affordable it is. The secret is to shop wisely and be prepared. This will mean having to shop more often to fresh food. Buying in bulk is also a great way to save and freezing meals too.