The rich-poor obesity gap in kids is widening

A long time ago, obesity was often used as a shorthand for wealth, but over the decades obesity has become more and more correlated with poverty, both in culture and science (while wealth is increasingly correlated with being slim).

The trend is accelerating. Researchers from Cambridge University's Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) say the obesity gap between the rich and poor is wider than ever.

It's hard to pinpoint a single cause for this, but the usual suspects are: the cheapest calories are the worst ones (carbs, sugars, etc); exercise is expensive both in terms of cash (austerity has squeezed community centres and parks) and time; the cognitive capacity that could be used to plan better meals is absorbed by juggling bills, precarious work, and increasingly expensive housing; high-quality food is more expensive than ever and often not sold in the increasingly segregated neighbourhoods where poor people live.

But the underlying causes of childhood obesity are fiendishly tricky to fix. As Sir Michael Marmot, head of University College London’s Institute of Health Equity, puts it: “If you want to solve the obesity problem, you have to solve the inequality problem first.”

As rich children slim down, poor ones are getting fatter [The Economist]

(via Naked Capitalism)

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