One topic we touched on in class that really stuck out to me was the connection between low income and unhealthy eating habits and obesity. Anyone that has ever been to Whole Foods knows that those nice, organic, health oriented foods are going to cost you a pretty penny, while a trip to McDonald’s might fill you up for only $5.00. This is a major issue and a real obstacle for families living in poverty that want to give their family a healthy diet. This issue is no mystery to the fast food restaurants as we saw when looking at the number of fast food restaurants in poor neighborhoods compared to wealthier ones. Not only are cheap and healthy alternatives not available, but these people are being bombarded with advertisements as well as being targeted by location. According to the British Medical Journal, eating healthier foods can cost upwards of $500 more a year. This figure was based on research in 10 different countries over 11 years, and some areas experience even greater differences in pricing. (BMJ)
Affordable healthy alternatives are absolutely necessary for battling obesity in the U.S. Many families choose unhealthy fast food over a balanced meal from the supermarket because of the need to fill their families stomachs as cheaply as possible, without much concern for health effects. I believe that these types of restaurants need to be more transparent with the nutrition facts about their food, as well as offer more healthy alternatives. I also believe that targeted advertisements need to be stopped or at least limited. Similarly, stores and restaurants that sell healthier foods must become more affordable, although this is easier said than done. As long as eating healthy is more expensive than eating unhealthy, we will have major issues with obesity in impoverished areas. One solution that is independent of the actual diet is creating more after school clubs or athletic programs that encourage exercise in a safe environment, especially in neighborhoods that are often too dangerous for children to go out and play.