U.S. Beginning to Break the Link Between Childhood Poverty and Obesity

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Young overweight child learning the values of healthy eating.
Alamy
Here's a little something from the "it's not all bad news" file: According to a report released on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control, there has been a "statistically significant" decline in obesity among lower income children in 18 states over the last eight years. According to CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, "We are going in the right direction for the first time in a generation."

As we've reported in the past, there is a considerable link between low-incomes and childhood obesity. According to a 2012 study by researchers at Rice University, in fact, children living in poverty are 30 percent more likely to be obese. There are numerous reasons for this -- factors like food deserts and corn subsidies make low-quality, highly-caloric food much cheaper, while other concerns, like cuts to food stamps encourage low-income families to get the cheapest calories they can. In the end, the upshot is simple: It costs more money to eat well, which means that people without money are more likely to become obese.

That's a large part of what makes this news so exciting. Because the data covered low-income children, the group that is hardest hit by childhood obesity, the CDC's report suggests that programs targeting bad eating habits are filtering their way through society to some of the groups that need help -- and education -- the most.

The CDC study noted that the reasons for this decline "could not be readily identified," but suggested that changes in school lunch programs, an increase in breastfeeding, and alignment of the WIC program with government nutritional guidelines could all be factors.

Admittedly, this report doesn't signal a complete reversal of the trend lines: While 18 states improved, another 19 stayed more or less the same and three -- Colorado, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania -- got worse. As for the remaining 10 states, they didn't provide sufficient data to be included in the study.

The childhood obesity epidemic is far from over, and the CDC cautions that "Continued prevention efforts remain necessary to ensure that this downward trend continues." Even so, this is a good reason to celebrate.

Bruce Watson is DailyFinance's Savings Editor. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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33 Comments

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setanta54s_back

so WHICH IS IT ?
sometimes THEY'RE ALL STARVING-

and sometimes THEY'RE FAT SLOBS.

so guys ??????? maKE UP YOUR MINDS AS TO WHAT CRISIS the kids are IN .

every 4-5 months it seems THEY ALTERNATE their scatology.

August 11 2013 at 10:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dopey.obamite

I'm a big fat dope. I just sit in the basement of my mom's section 8 welfare crap hole, eat hot pockets and drink kool aid. When I'm not eating hot pockets and drinking kool aid I copy and paste leftwing propaganda praising our lord and savior president obama, then I troll in the shadows and switch to all my different screen names and rate conservative posts down and my propaganda up. Say it with me y'all!
YES WE.CAN! YES WE CAN!

August 10 2013 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crimeslawyer

The responsibility here begins and ends with the parents.

August 09 2013 at 11:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to crimeslawyer's comment
betty_brock

So true. Liberals never want to take responsibility for anything.

August 09 2013 at 12:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mac2jr

Much of the Obesity has been caused by our schools in their attempt to provide CHEAP MEALS to the student base. Many schools have also done away with PT and other daily exercise programs for their students in an effort to save a dime.

Why are these schools trying to save money, the taxpayer base has shrunk due to businesses moving to other states, or out of the country.

August 09 2013 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mac2jr's comment
rjmjlm711

It is always some one else's fault

August 09 2013 at 11:35 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mac2jr

In the 1930 - 1950 period, a good many Americans lived on farms and other rural areas where hunting for lean game, growing vegetables, and eating fruit and nuts off the local bushes and trees was common. Additionally, there was rationing for several years and you could only get certain foods, and there was Wonder Bread spiked with Vitamins and Calcium.

After the 1950's the Fast Food JUNK FOOD market took over and with the use of Television and other media 'SOLD' the American public on the fact that he or she was missing out if he or she did not eat ... and ... and .... daily. Thus, profits and BiG Business has caused much of the obesity in the country..

Big business has also abandoned the inner cities, the rural areas, and much of the urban suburbs in favor of $0.50 to $2.00 labor in foreign countries, which resulted in massive Poverty throughout America. Who are these Business people, according to many here the Democrats are all the poor people, thus the Republican MUST be the BiG Business people, and therefore by deduction the direct cause of Poverty and Obesity in America...

August 09 2013 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mac2jr's comment
betty_brock

You think everything is the Repubs fault, you idiot.

August 09 2013 at 12:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mac2jr

From the comments on this board, all Republicans are healthy, thin, well-fed, not obese, and working, while all Democrats are unhealthy, fat, poorly fed, obese, and on welfare. This should make for good voting at the polls in the next elections.

August 09 2013 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rjmjlm711

Hey Bruce.. anytime you see an obese kid you can thank A democrat ...

August 09 2013 at 10:48 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
majbjb

Only in America does "poverty" cause obesity. Or that's what idiots would have you believe. It's not poverty it's stupidity. Let the poor stay fat, it's better than starving like they would in anyother country on the face of the earth.

August 09 2013 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
whitneygre

THIS ARTICLE ASSUMES A FALSE PREMISE: "In the end, the upshot is simple: It costs more money to eat well, which means that people without money are more likely to become obese."

I WAS BORN IN 1933 AND WAS IN REAL POVERTY FOR THE FIRST 15 YEARS OF MY LIFE--AS WERE ALL MY SCHOOLMATES. NONE OF US WERE FAT! OUR PARENTS, WITHOUT ANY GOVERNMENTAL INSTRUCTION, KNEW THAT CHEAP STEW BEEF, CHICKEN, VEGETABLES, OATMEAL, APPLES, AND POTATOES COULD GIVE US PROPER NUTRITION AT A MODEST COST. AND IF WE SPENT ZERO MONEY ON ENTERTAINMENT, RESTAURANTS, CLOTHES, COSMETICS, ELECTRONICS, AND LUXURIES, THAT MEANT THAT THERE WAS ENOUGH MONEY TO GO AROUND. THEY PUT 1ST THINGS 1ST.

SO, IMHO, "the upshot is simple: It TAKES more SELF DISCIPLINE to eat well, which means that people without COMMON SENSE are more likely to become obese."

Perhaps the correlation between poverty and obesity is lack of self discipline. I don't know any of my classmates that ever got obese, but they all moved out of poverty quickly when WWII ended. They got jobs, had families, enjoyed life, and I don't remember their kids being obese either! It is the lack of self discipline, limited emotional restraint, and a reluctance to work hard and persistently, that leads to both poverty and obesity. Excess welfare support and misplaced compassion encourage these negative traits and they get passed onto each new generation. Thus, in America today, there may be "a free lunch," but beware--it is fattening!.

August 09 2013 at 10:09 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
pdbliz

Case out a 7 - 11 week days and watch all the welfare buying beer all day......
No one works but the good people that want to get ahead and have something other than GOVERMENT BENIFITS....
Now,,I am talking about all races,,,so do not get Racist on me.!!!!!! RACE CARD is easy to use now days...!!!!!!!!!!!
People HAVE TO EXCEPT LIFE.......DEAL WITH IT.......AND,,THEY are a lot of stupid people now,,,thanks to our DEMOCRATES.!!!

August 09 2013 at 9:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply