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Why Poor People Are Fat

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Obesity is a problem that has touched virtually every person in our country, whether directly or indirectly. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to avoid open discussion of this issue because of the perceived shame or lack of knowledge about it. Taking a closer look at the people who suffer from this problem one can see that poor layers of the society are much more affected by obesity than citizens with higher income level. This fact seemingly contradicts the common logic that claims that poor people are usually rather thin because of the lack of food. However, obesity is directly related to poverty because of the eating habits that the poorer classes have developed, which are based on that extensive consumption of cheap products containing corn.

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There is a huge number of people who deny or undermine this connection. First of all, the opponents of this idea believe that obesity is not that common for the poor. Financially underprivileged people are usually struggling to make the ends meet, which often includes struggling for food. As a result they often do not have meals regularly. This logically leads to losing weight rather than to gaining it. These people further believe that even consuming corn-rich products will not cause any danger of gaining weight due to their active lifestyle and constant stress. Whenever someone gains weight it is quickly lost, because poor people often have to work manually and use a lot of physical strength.  Together with that, constant stress of not having a secure income burns additional calories. All these arguments seem to be logical, but they also have several limitations. Firstly, the stress can cause the body to gain weight as much as it can force it to lose it. This is just a matter of personal predisposition. Secondly, the manual work is far from the usual occupation of poor people. They are often forced to work for a minimum wage at places where they experience physical tiredness, but not the kind that leads to fitness. A job involving standing all day long or walking from house to house will not make one lose a lot of weight. It is clear, therefore, that these arguments fail to convince an inquisitive and critical person.

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On the other hand, the relation of obesity to poverty can be easily observed. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that in order to be healthy one has to have a balanced diet. As Michael Pollan specifies in his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, a human being needs more than fifty different chemicals or minerals to maintain good health. Now let us turn our analysis back to the poor and their eating habits. Having no opportunity to buy organic and diverse food products and not having their own patch of land to grow vegetables, they are likely to fall back on the food they can afford. This food in almost in all cases happens to be made of corn. Naturally, such kind of a diet cannot provide all the variety of chemicals that human organism needs. This leads to numerous diseases and malfunctions, including the problem of obesity. To say more, poverty goes hand in hand with irregular eating schedule. It is the privilege of financially sustainable people to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at more or less specific times. Poor people do not have that luxury. They eat whenever they can manage to prepare a meal and squeeze it into the tight schedule of trying to earn additional money. Irregular eating times may lead to various stomach problems and increased risk of extra weight.

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In the modern society there is a clear connection between poverty and obesity. Although different opinions exist on the matter that everybody must examine the evidence and make up his or her own mind. It is rather challenging to understand the situation without being the victim of it. However, it is a duty of every person to try her or his best in order to become more aware of the problems around us and the underlying reasons for their emergence.

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