This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
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

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 - Get Report) 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.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

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
Stocks Under $10

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

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

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
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

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

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
MCD $95.07 -0.39%
AAPL $125.42 0.72%
FB $85.76 -0.04%
GOOG $520.51 -0.19%
TSLA $268.26 2.38%

Markets

DOW 17,619.51 +23.16 0.13%
S&P 500 2,063.12 +5.48 0.27%
NASDAQ 4,986.8670 +28.3990 0.57%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs