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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
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.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
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.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV