Patt Morrison for June 6, 2012

Breaking the link between poverty and obesity

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A man cooks eggs on a grill at a dinner on March 15, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York. Two recent studies have declared that the Bronx is the least healthy county in the state of New York and home to many of the least healthy residents in the country.

Do obesity and poverty travel hand and hand? It turns out that the five poorest states are also among the ten most obese, with Mississippi in the number one position in both columns.

In fact, a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that $1 can buy either 1200 calories of potato chips, 250 calories of vegetables, or 170 calories of fresh fruit.

WEIGH IN:

While there’s been plenty of research about food deserts – which involves availability – where is the corresponding conversation about the subsidies that make so much junk food inexpensive? What can be done to bring the price of healthy food down so the average American can afford to eat well?

Guests:

Dr. Karen Coleman, research scientist, Kaiser Permanente, Southern California

Dr. Michael Cousineau, associate professor of family medicine and preventative medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine

Poem:

Fat Chance

With money and waistbands equally tight
It’s become hard to ignore you
Can’t always find ways to afford things
That clearly are good for you.

Poverty and limited culinary options are
Undeniably stressful.
Ironically, being heavy & rich is just seen
As being … successful.

Obesity health care costs taxpayers billions
Its damage hits like a tornado ---
When its victims have to cash in their chips
The only ones they have are potato.

Lawmakers would rather have town halls to talk
About odd tariffs & obscure treaties
Than admit their neglect on this issue has helped
The rise of heart disease & diabetes.

Oh, to be living longer and better and healthier
And not worry about every calorie.
It just takes gumption, spunk, a personal trainer
As well as a big fat salary.

by Tony Peyser, local Altadena poet; he wrote daily poems for BuzzFlash.com and keeps his own politics and pop culture blog at PeyserPoem.blogspot.com


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