I got asked the other day, at the supermarket, why poor people are generally fatter and more susceptable to obesity that people of higher financial classes, when a person with more money, obviously, can afford more food.
The reason is so simple yet people keep stereotyping and coming up with “explanations” that make poor people seem lazy and incompetent when the actual problem is in the American economy. Health foods are more expensive than junk foods.
Let’s use my situation as an example. I am a single woman living in a efficiency apartment. I get $720/mo in disability. I am not able to work at all due to my disability. $720 is barely enough to cover my rent and utilities, misc bills, and things like toiletries and other non-food necessities. That leaves me with $140/mo in food stamps. If you think that sounds like a lot, try saving your grocery receipts for a whole month and see if you still have the same opinion.
Because people of lower financial classes are usually on some sort of government assistance (1 in 5 households in America are on food stamps), we have to make budget cuts wherever we can. A lot of times that means cutting out organic fruits and veggies and leaner meats, which prices for have skyrocketed. I can get a pound of organic apples that I’ll eat in 2 days for the same price that I can get a container of oatmeal that will feed me for almost a month. Canned veggies are cheaper, but have things like preservatives and added sugars. It’s cheaper to buy a bag of potato chips than a bag of rice cakes.
These are things that we have to take into consideration while shopping. What is the best deal? What is an actual necessity vs. what is considered a special treat? Can we afford fresh fruit this week? Would it be worth the extra few cents to switch brands because the cheaper brand was frankly disgusting?
If you’ve never had to ask yourself these questions while shopping, I want you to stop and take a minute to think about those of us who do. At 315 pounds, believe me, I am trying to lose weight. But in an economy that encourages obesity and takes advantage of health “superfoods” being in high demand, it’s hard to stick to a diet you can’t afford.
As someone who lived off minimum wage, and had less than $150/m for food a month, trust me this is 100% true. I lived off dollar store off brand velveta, “personal pizzas” concocted from whatever they had, and key lime pies (aka they had gramcracker pie crusts and canned key lime pie mix). I gained so much weight. Wasn’t even funny. This is a serious isue that effects millions of americans.