At this point, it’s almost common knowledge that about a third of the nation’s adult population is overweight or obese. We also know a lot of these overweight or obese Americans are poor. The equation to fixing the problem seems easy at first—cut down on calories, cut down on weight, but it’s often a lot more complicated, especially for low-income families.
Junk Food is Cheap
Everything’s getting more expensive, but the price of whole foods is skyrocketing. This means nutritious meals are becoming out of reach for the poor. When families with tiny budgets are forced to make tough choices, it’s easy to see why blockbuster fast-food deals are attractive.
Food Deserts Are Real
Maybe even more upsetting than the price of good food is its availability. Food deserts, or neighborhoods where fresh produce and other whole foods aren’t available, are big problems in urban areas. People that want to make the right food choices have a much harder time doing it if the nearest quality grocery store is far away. In places where getting to the grocery store means having a car, families who can’t afford cars are forced to go to convenience stores that offer packaged and over-processed foods.
Less Money Can Mean Less Leisure Time
Cooking takes time. Obvious enough, but low-income families are often run by parents who work really long hours. After long days, feeding the family comes down to what’s quick and easy, and that’s usually not a homemade meal with fresh vegetables and whole grains.