A Connection Between Income and Health

Has America's income gap developed a diet gap?

By Eve Whittenburg, Writer/Editor, Skinny Ms.

by Skinny Ms.

The recent recession brought more than falling stock prices, housing collapse, and greater gaps between income levels; it brought a divide in diet quality. Studies done over the last decade are proving that a health gap has accompanied the wealth gap, and that lower income families are not getting the nutrition they need.

According to a 12 year study, eating habits and quality of available foods in America has improved, but not among America’s poor. While diets can still be improved all around, low-income populations are more likely to consume foods that will lead to obesity, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. These highly processed foods are loaded with sugar and saturated fats, but are much less expensive and more widely available than their healthier counterparts.

Researchers speculate that the damage may be long-term, affecting future generations, and further widening the income gap. If children are unable to consume proper nutrition, they are less likely to develop to their full potential, physically and mentally. This brings the possibility that poor eating habits during childhood can prevent a rise in income level later in life.

This study makes it obvious that government assistance is hardly providing a quality service. If they must exist, should our food stamp programs not limit participants to a diet of healthy foods? The programs low-income families use should help them, not hurt them, and those programs should allow those families to achieve a better, healthier life.

Source: USA Today

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