This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Study: Poor's Obesity Isn't Fast Food's Fault

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- It used to be that poor people were thin and malnourished. Now low-income Americans are more likely to be obese than the general population, and the popular narrative holds that this is due largely to a diet high in cheap fast food.

But that theory, while tidy and logical on the surface, does not seem to be borne out by the facts in one study.

It's actually the middle class that is most likely to hit up McDonald's and other fast-food places on a regular basis, a study says, meaning the blame for income among the poor must be placed elsewhere.

Health economics researchers at the University of California at Davis looked at data from a mid-1990s survey of food intake patterns to get a sense of how varying income levels correlate with eating habits.

What it found was that, contrary to popular belief, poor people are not more likely than the general population to frequent fast-food restaurants. Rather, fast-food visits increase as income rises and don't begin to tail off until you hit a household income of around $60,000 a year.

In other words, it's actually the middle class that is most likely to hit up McDonald's (MCD) on a regular basis.

"There is a correlation between obesity and lower income, but it cannot be solely attributed to restaurant choice," study author J. Paul Leigh says in a statement. "Fast-food dining is most popular among the middle class, who are less likely to be obese."

The researchers do concede that using data from the mid-90s isn't ideal, but said that this was the most recent national survey data available for their purposes.

So why are poor people more likely to be obese, if not because of fast food overload? While the researchers don't offer any definitive answers in this particular study, they do suggest that the rising price of healthier food may be an issue.

"Pricing is critical to low-income families, and over the past 30 years the costs of less healthy options have dropped compared to healthier fare," Leigh notes.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,086.63 -26.91 -0.16%
S&P 500 1,987.01 +3.48 0.18%
NASDAQ 4,473.6970 +17.6810 0.40%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs