Poverty and Obesity in the U.S.

Date: 
11-01-2011

High-income countries have greater rates of obesity than middle- and low-income countries (The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control1). Countries that develop wealth also develop obesity; for instance, with economic growth in China and India, obesity rates have increased by several-fold (The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control1). The international trend is that greater obesity tracks with greater wealth (The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control2,The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control3).

The U.S. is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and accordingly has high obesity rates; one-third of the population has obesity plus another third is overweight. The situation is predicted to worsen; rising childhood obesity rates forewarn of worsening statistics (The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control4). While it is agreed that both individual factors such as genetic susceptibility and behavior are important in life-long weight gain, evidence is ill-defined with respect to the nature of the environmental influences that impact obesity (The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control5).

In 2010, 15.1% of Americans lived in poverty based upon family income census data (The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control6). With the economic downturn, the number of people in the U.S. living in poverty rose to 46 million people—the greatest number in more than 50 years (The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control6).

Are poverty and obesity associated? Poverty rates and obesity were reviewed across 3,139 counties in the U.S. (The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control2,The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control6). In contrast to international trends, people in America who live in the most poverty-dense counties are those most prone to obesity (Fig. 1A). Counties with poverty rates of >35% have obesity rates 145% greater than wealthy counties.

Read the full article.  Click here.

Authors: 
James A. Levine