I want to talk to you today about Childhood Obesity in Low-Income Families and the truth in why so many of these children are fighting the battle of the bulge.
There are many factors that contribute to Obesity in children today, but for the low-income family, their challenges are much harder to overcome. Not only do they have to deal with many of the same issues such as pop-culture, genetics, health issues, medications, and self- esteem. They also have to deal with the cost of healthy foods, lack of affordable gym facilities, but most important in the lack of funds needed every month(Fighting Obesity and Hunger, 2010).I know this to be a true fact because I am one of those families in the low-income bracket and have to deal with these problems with my daughter. Truth be told, according to the Federal Government Monthly Standard Income, I live Below poverty level(Rock, 2012). But we’ll get into that later.
Everyone knows that healthy foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, skinless chicken breast, etc., and to maintain a healthy weight these are the foods you need to buy and eat on a daily basis.But when it comes to un-healthy foods everyone pictures, chips, cookies, soda, etc., and feel that this is what low-income families are buying because of the low cost for these items. But did you actually know that 90% of all foods in your local grocery store are in fact un-healthy! I know what your thinking, how can that be, they carry caned fruits and vegetables, different kinds of caned and bottle foods, boxed and frozen foods, this stuff isn’t un-healthy. But the fact is processed foods have been altered from their natural state, either for safety reasons or for convenience. The methods used for processing foods include canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration and aseptic processing(Harper, 2011). And for all you young men, the ingredients in these processed food could have a major impact on your sperm(Gucciardi, 2012). One way to be able to tell the difference between healthy and non-healthy foods is, the longer the shelf; the shorter the human life.
A study done by; Karen M. Jetter, PhD & Diana L. Cassady, DrPH showed that by using the standard market basket, based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Thrifty Food Plan and a healthier market basket they compared the two and found a real difference. The Thrifty Food basket cost $194 dollars for 2 weeks worth of food and the Healthier food basket was $230 dollars for 2 weeks worth of food. When they compared the price of the 2 they found a 35 – 40% higher cost between the 2 plans(K. M. Jetter & D. L. Cassady, 2006). Keep these figures in your mind for a little bit because I will be getting back to them.
Everyone knows the best way to stay fit and healthy besides eating healthy is proper exercise. There are over 108 million Americans overweight or obese and the majority of them are low-income families. When you look at the cost of an affordable facility to go and get the exercise you need to reduce your weight, the cost of a safe gym is too high for low-income families at $30 - $60 dollars a month per person(Moran, 2012). I can honestly say that even the YMCA, which was suppose to be established to help low-income families, discriminates against them and obese/overweight people charging $22 - $72.50 per month depending on your age and size(Membership Rates, 2012).
So where does that leave children of low-income families? It leaves them to play in the streets, broken down parks, and garbage filled allies.
Now comes the time I finally prove my point. I could show you all kinds of charts and statistics the Government is trying to use to show that things are really not as bad as people think, but instead I’m going to use my own information to hopefully open everyone's eyes to the real truth on the problems that low-income families face on a daily basics and why our children are not eating and exercising to maintain a healthy weight, we just can’t do it no matter how hard we want to. According to the Government Monthly Income Standard for a family of 2 should be $1892 dollars a month. As you can see my actual monthly income is $770 dollars a month. That is $1122 dollars below The Government Standards(Rock, 2012).
Now keep in mind that out of the $770 dollars a month I receive, the State only allows $235.00 for rent and $402 dollars for heating/air, which leaves a positive cash flow of $133 dollars, but that is not really a positive flow because out of that money I have to pay for; insurance, transportation, personal hygiene products, cloths/shoes, and a phone not to mention other things that pop up in regards to school supplies and such. Which leaves 0 dollars for a gym or even the YMCA to help my daughter and myself to get fit.
Now remember I told you to keep in mind the cost of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan? This is the food the Government said is needed to eat healthy. Well lets compare the cost for these healthy foods compared to the actual amount of food support given to a family of 2.Their basket for 2 weeks came to $194 dollars. My monthly food support is $277 dollars. So if I was to buy their basket I could feed my daughter and myself for 2 weeks with $83 dollars left over, but what about the other 2 weeks in the month, how am I going to be able to feed us on just the $83 dollars? It can’t be done. This is why low-income families have no choice but to feed or children and families the un-healthy processed foods due to their cost. Look around your local grocery stores and see for yourself. Thanks to the Government the cost of process foods out weighs the cost of healthy foods when your trying to keep your child from going to bed hungry(Rock, 2012).
So keep this in mind every time you sit down to eat your meals and you want to talk about how low-income families are obese and draining the system, 99% of low-income families are only eating 1 meal a day. If there was more help for low-income families to fight the problems that cause obesity in our children, then maybe we would see a major decline in the obesity rate. If you think I’m not speaking the truth then try this, take $138 dollars per person in your family, so if you have a family of 4 that would be $552 dollars, and spend only that amount to feed each one of you for 1 month, 3 meals a day with 1 snack and see how well you survive. Thank you for listening.
ReferenceFighting Obesity and Hunger. (2010). Retrieved from Food Research and Action Center: http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/Gucciardi, A. (2012, May 23). IQ Foods: Processed Food Lowers IQ in Children, Nutritious Food Raises It. Retrieved from Infowars.com: http://www.infowars.com/iq-foods-processed-food-lowers-iq-in-children-nutritious-food-raises-it/Harper, S. (2011, May 16). Are processed foods (ever) healthy? Retrieved from Salad In A Steak House: http://saladinasteakhouse.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/are-processed-foods-ever-healthy/K. M. Jetter & D. L. Cassady. (2006). The Availability and Cost of Healthier. Retrieved from American Journal of Preventive Medicine: http://www.aahf.info/test/pdf/youth_articles/PIIS0749379705003351.pdfMembership Rates. (2012, September 5). Retrieved from YMCA: http://www.ymcabrandon.com/page.aspx?page_id=43Moran, C. P. (2012). What It Costs For A Gym Membership. Retrieved from What It Costs: http://sports.whatitcosts.com/gym-membership.htmRock, V. (2012, August 1). Income Calculation. (C. C. Services, Interviewer)
Childhood Obesity in Low-Income Families Victoria Rock Pres111-1204A-07 September 9, 2012American Intercontinental University
Reasons of Childhood Obesity in Low-Income FamiliesPop-culture Cost ofGenetics Healthy Foods AffordableHealth Issues Gym FacilitiesMedications Lack OfSelf-esteem Funds (Harding,2012)
Healthy vs. Non-HealthyHealthy Foods Non- Healthy Foods
Thrifty Food Plan vs. HealthierAverage Thrifty Food Average Healthier Food Plan Basket BasketCost $194 for 2 weeks Cost $230 for 2 weeks of food of food That’s 35 - 40% cost difference between the 2 plans