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Republish it! But please do not edit the piece. Also make sure that you attribute the author, and mention the article was originally published on Scholars Strategy Network. \u003Cem\u003EBy copying and pasting the markup below you will be adhering to these guidelines.\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cp\u003E\u003Ca href=\u0022\/republishing-ssn-articles\u0022\u003EView additional guideline details.\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\n \u003Ctextarea\u003E\n \u003Cdiv about=\u0022\/brief\/why-poverty-leads-obesity-and-life-long-problems\u0022 typeof=\u0022sioc:Item foaf:Document\u0022 class=\u0022ds-1col node node-brief view-mode-stealourcontent_node clearfix\u0022\u003E\n \u003Ch2\u003E\n Why Poverty Leads to Obesity and Life-Long Problems\n \u003C\/h2\u003E\u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/scholar\/hedwig-lee\u0022\u003EHedwig Lee\u003C\/a\u003E, Washington University in St. Louis\n \u003Cp\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003EThe United States finds itself in the midst of an \u201cobesity epidemic,\u201d as many news outlets and public agencies have proclaimed. For good reasons, researchers and public health experts are especially concerned about obesity among children and adolescents. Over the last three decades obesity has grown almost three-fold among youngsters.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003EObesity is a risk for all groups of Americans, but what is often left unsaid is the special vulnerability of the most disadvantaged groups. Obesity is especially rampant among Americans with the lowest levels of education and the highest poverty rates. Given the increasing economic insecurity facing many in our nation today, it is important to understand why and how poverty heightens the rise of obesity among youth. Only if we understand the causes at work can we effectively design strategies to reduce this major health risk to already vulnerable people.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-title\u0022\u003EWhy the Risk of Obesity is Greater for the Poor\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003EEating right and engaging in regular physical activity are decisions all individuals in America can make to lower the risk of obesity and associated health problems. But of course the choices made by children and adolescents are strongly affected by the family and community environments in which they live. Impoverished living conditions matter especially for the young, because they throw up many barriers to engaging in healthy behaviors.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003E\u003Cem\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EPoor families have limited food budgets and choices,\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/em\u003E and must often stretch supplies toward the end of the month, before another check or allocation of Food Stamps arrives. This leads to unhealthy behaviors in several ways:\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cul class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EFamilies choose high-fat foods dense with energy \u2013 foods such as sugars, cereals, potatoes and processed meat products \u2013 because these foods are more affordable and last longer than fresh vegetables and fruits and lean meats and fish.\u0026nbsp;\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EPoor families often live in disadvantaged neighborhoods where healthy foods are hard to find. Instead of large supermarkets, poor neighborhoods have a disproportionate number of fast food chains and small food stores providing cheap, high-fat foods.\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EEconomic insecurity \u2013 such as trouble paying bills or rent \u2013 leads to stress, and people often cope by eating high-fat, sugary foods.\u0026nbsp;\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ul\u003E\n \u003Cp class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003E\n \u003Cem\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EOptions for regular physical activity can also be restricted for poor people:\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/em\u003E\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cul class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EFamilies cannot usually afford to pay for organized children\u2019s activities outside of school \u2013 and schools in impoverished areas are less likely to run sports or physical activity programs than schools with more resources.\u0026nbsp;\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EDue to inflexible work schedules, lack of transportation, or unmet needs for child care, poor parents, especially single mothers, may find it hard to support extra activities for their children. Leaving kids in front of the TV is often all stressed poor parents can manage.\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EIn many poor neighborhoods, parks, playgrounds, trails, and free public gyms are often not available or safe. Neighborhoods may be crime-ridden, and there may be no nearby indoor places for play or exercise. Ironically, parental efforts to keep kids safe and indoors may increase encourage sedentary behaviors such as watching TV and playing video games.\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ul\u003E\n \u003Cp\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-title\u0022\u003EThe Long-Term Downsides of Youthful Obesity\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003ECompared to those who are not poor, adolescents in impoverished families and communities are more likely to be obese \u2013 or become overweight in young adulthood. And obesity in young adulthood is not usually temporary. It is a kind of lifelong sentence to ill health and socioeconomic disadvantages.\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cul class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EObese young adults are a high risk for ongoing health problems such as cardiovascular disease, depression and certain cancers.\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EBeing overweight in young adulthood is associated with unemployment, limits on educational attainment and lower levels of income.\u0026nbsp;\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EBecause the bad consequences are long-lasting and recurrent, obesity needs to be prevented or reversed for poor youngsters. Policymakers are looking for the best ways to do just that.\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ul\u003E\n \u003Cp\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-title\u0022\u003EWhat Can be Done?\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003ETo effectively prevent and reverse obesity among especially vulnerable poor people, we have to think of the issues in more than just individual terms. We must look for ways to begin to improve the social and physical environments in which low-income people live. Interventions in neighborhoods and community institutions can make a difference.\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cul class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003EFor example, New York City is sponsoring a \u201cGreen Carts\u201d program that uses mobile food carts to offer fresh produce in certain poor neighborhoods.\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003ENew neighborhood resources are also needed to help people connect with one another for safe, organized activities conducive to good physical and mental health.\u0026nbsp;\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003ESchools and Head Start programs can be key players too, because youngsters spend so much time in them and they are valued community institutions. Research shows that incorporating physical activities and good nutrition into school and pre-school offerings can make a real difference in the fight against childhood and youth obesity.\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ul\u003E\n \u003Cp class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003E\n Investing in a diverse set of physical activities and nutritional programs in neighborhoods and educational institutions may be the best way to reduce the risk of obesity among poor youngsters. But such efforts need reliable funding from governments and charities to boost and leverage valuable programs in neighborhood centers and schools serving disadvantaged Americans.\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cp class=\u0022brief-footer-comments\u0022\u003E\n Read more in Hedwig Lee, Kathleen Mullan Harris, and Penny Gordon-Larsen, \u201c\u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2743510\/\u0022\u003ELife Course Perspectives on the Links between Poverty and Obesity during the Transition to Young Adulthood\u003C\/a\u003E,\u201d \u003Cem\u003EPopulation Research and Policy Review\u003C\/em\u003E 28, no. 4 (2009): 505-532.\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Ctable border=\u00220\u0022 align=\u0022left\u0022\u003E\n \u003Ctr\u003E\n \u003Ctd\u003E\n \u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/scholarsstrategynetwork.org\u0022\u003Ewww.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\u003C\/a\u003E\n \u003C\/td\u003E\n \u003C\/tr\u003E\n \u003C\/table\u003E\n \u003Ctable border=\u00220\u0022 align=\u0022right\u0022\u003E\n \u003Ctr\u003E\n \u003Ctd\u003E\n December 2012\n \u003C\/td\u003E\n \u003C\/tr\u003E\n \u003C\/table\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E \u003Cp\u003EThis article was originally published on \u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/\u0022\u003EScholars Strategy Network\u003C\/a\u003E. Read the \u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/brief\/why-poverty-leads-obesity-and-life-long-problems\u0022\u003Eoriginal article\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cimg height=\u00221\u0022 width=\u00221\u0022 typeof=\u0022foaf:Image\u0022 src=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/stealourcontent\/track.gif?nid=1159\u0022 alt=\u0022\u0022 \/\u003E \u003C\/textarea\u003E\n\n \u003Cp\u003ECopy the above code and paste it into your website or CMS to republish.\u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n"}]