Does Poverty Cause Obesity?

I am sure by now you have all heard somebody say that they are overweight due to the fact that they cannot afford healthy food.  Is there any truth in this?

For sure when we look at the costs of food in grocery stores today we often see that processed foods (things like Kraft Dinner, frozen pizzas, and so fourth) may seem quite cheap compared to buying fresh vegetables and so forth and making a full dinner that way.  However the reason why most processed foods outsell fresh is convenience, not price.  Some fresh foods are amazingly affordable, and often over looked as they are considered “boring”.  Potatoes are cheap, and very healthy, in fact a person can live off of potatoes for a very long time.  What makes people obese is all the butter, sour cream, and so forth added to them.  If somebody is claiming they cannot afford to eat healthy, they really should not be spending money on additional condiments for their food.

The biggest argument I see in regards to food prices making people fat is that it is cheaper to buy pop than juice.  This is very true, but having anything other than tap water (which is free in most areas, or certainly very low priced) is a luxury that a truly poor person would not be spending money on.  In other words if a person can afford to buy pop, they are not as poor as they think.  Saying that pop is cheaper than juice is silly when water is cheaper than both.  For those looking for juice, frozen concentrate is often the best value.

summer squashes

Squashes, photo by author’s husband

Then again if a person is really struggling with money, they should consider planting a garden and producing all the food they want for very little money.  I have free well water where I am but additionally I make use of a rain barrel which I would suggest for people living in cities where they have to pay for water.  Beans are one of the easiest things to grow, and they produce food in a short time – potatoes require more work (hilling, digging) but a person can grow a lot of their own food this way).


If we want to look at some of the cheapest, and healthiest, foods out there, we see potatoes (as mentioned), rice, oatmeal, and bananas, are right up on top.  If a person is buying fattening food because they claim they cannot afford healthy food then they are simply not good at shopping because the above four foods are cheap and healthy.


If you see a person who claims that poverty is making them fat, just look and see what they are eating, chances are their food choices are making them fat, not “poverty”.  They are simply buying, and eating, the wrong thing, and/or are eating too much of the wrong thing.




Share with your friends
To report this post you need to login first.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *