Print

Print


this is an 'anecdote' but on the theme:

    www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28300393

note, its from dec 18 '08 so the issue is still alive.   relative availability of stores is 1/100,000 for poor la (a pretty basic example city) versus 1/20,000 for wealthier neighborhoods.   there appear to be 10 million articles on pubmed on the theme, many on la, and a review in sci. from 98.  most support the 'myths' about poverty/obesity and poverty/unequal access, though the correlation is not 100% (its multifactorial!!!).  one shows 'food and park environments' are poor in east la and related to childhood obesity (kripke).  

these do not suggest people are 'helpless victims' but they do suggest people have unequal hurdles to cross.  


--- On Sat, 12/27/08, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Obesity and povery (was: Liposunctioning our fuel)
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Saturday, December 27, 2008, 6:28 AM
> As an addendum to my previous post: While it is true that
> getting to a
> supermarket can be more difficult for some poor people, the
> most widely
> cited study of where low-income people shop, Ohls et al.,
> finds that 90%
> shop primarily at supermarkets despite somewhat greater
> difficulty in
> getting to one. Thus low-income people do indeed have
> access to healthier
> foods should they so choose. The study is very long, but
> read the executive
> summary to get the basic findings:
> 
> http://www.fns.usda.gov/oane/menu/Published/snap/FILES/ProgramOperations/retailer.pdf
> 
> Indeed, I would argue that the notion that obese poor
> people are simply
> helpless victims of poverty is actually insulting to them,
> as it implies
> that they are too stupid or ignorant to be able to know the
> difference
> between healthy and unhealthy diets. Eating at
> McDonald's is a cultural
> choice, not something anyone is forced to do. Cultural
> choices can be
> influenced by poverty, for sure, and to the extent that
> they are this needs
> to be brought to light; but it doesn't change the fact
> that individuals have
> to take responsibility for their lives. Victimology is
> increasingly
> counter-productive anyway, as social change requires that
> each individual
> become an active rather than passive agent for a better
> society (unless one
> wishes to passively follow the lead of vanguard parties.)
> 
> MB
> 
> On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 10:03 AM, Michael Balter
> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> 
> > The remarks of Michael G. and earlier by Phil G. are
> predicated on the
> > assumption that there is a relationship between
> poverty and obesity, ie that
> > poor people tend to be fatter. In fact, just a little
> research made it clear
> > that the relationship is much more complicated than
> that and is not well
> > understood. Thus obesity has increased greatly among
> ALL income groups in
> > the past few decades. The highest rates of obesity are
> among Black women
> > (alarmingly high), and yet during the past few decades
> they have risen most
> > sharply among middle-income Black women rather than
> the poorest; and Black
> > men tend to be more obese with income rather than
> less. A similar trend is
> > seen among Mexican-American men. The following link
> helps to summarize some
> > of these findings, which do not support the simple
> relationship postulated
> > here without support:
> >
> >
> http://www.cherp.org/cherpdocs/issuebriefs/Policy%20Brief_Fall2005.pdf
> >
> > There has been a lot of discussion lately about why
> Black women have such
> > higher rates of obesity, and which focus on cultural
> factors such as the
> > possibility that fatness has a more positive image
> among Blacks than whites
> > (see first link, column by Debra Dickerson) and/or
> that it is a reaction to
> > racism and involves poor self-image etc. (see study in
> second link.) But
> > clearly cultural factors are involved, not only in
> Black women but all
> > groups given the increase of obesity across the board
> (there have been
> > neither drastic increases in poverty not genetics to
> explain this finding.)
> >
> >
> http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/06/07/obesity/
> >
> >
> http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3919/is_/ai_n8940256
> >
> > Thus while poverty could be invoked as a possible
> indirect contributor to
> > obesity among some groups, it is not the whole
> explanation and possibly not
> > even a major part of it (the jury seems out on that.)
> But given the health
> > consequences of obesity, especially for Black women
> who suffer from it the
> > most, remediation efforts have focused on the only
> possible immediate
> > solution: Eating less and exercising more. Thus
> special programs have been
> > designed to address Black women in this regard, in
> which Black organizations
> > are involved. The following two links give details:
> >
> > http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2005pres/20050407.html
> >
> > http://www.ncnw.org/resources/health.htm
> >
> > In the short term, the solution for obesity is not to
> make a socialist
> > revolution (although perhaps that would help when it
> does come) but for
> > individuals or groups or communities to take
> responsibility for the obesity
> > epidemic and do what is necessary to end it. In the
> end, each individidual
> > is responsible for his or her own weight.
> >
> > Given all this, and since the relationship between
> poverty and obesity is
> > murky, the comments by Michael G. and Phil G. above
> need to be put in their
> > proper context. While it may be somewhat more
> difficult for poor people to
> > buy healthier foods, as Eric points out, it is not all
> that difficult, and
> > the idea that the poor don't have access to
> supermarkets (or moderate sized
> > markets) is ridiculous on the face of it, particularly
> in urban settings
> > (rural Appalachia might be a different situation,
> although I have no data on
> > this.) What is happening is that poor people as well
> as rich are walking
> > into supermarkets and buying unhealthy food, ie they
> are making cultural
> > choices. Sure, the food is better in wealthier
> neighborhoods, but as Eric
> > implies a very healthy diet made up of fruits and
> vegetables and a modest
> > amount of meat and fish can be put together quite
> cheaply. And no, eating at
> > McDonald's is not cheap, at least not compared
> with shopping at a market.
> >
> > Finally, we have this last line from Michael G:
> > "
> > One would have thought all this would have gone
> without saying on this
> > list."
> >
> > This seems to be a clear invitation to groupthink, not
> something that our
> > esteemed moderator does often but which he has done
> here. And it should go
> > without saying that groupthink has no place on a list
> of people trying to
> > make a difference in the world.
> >
> > best wishes,
> >
> > Michael B.
> >
> > On Fri, Dec 26, 2008 at 8:44 PM, Michael H Goldhaber
> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> >
> >> Michael  B. and Eric, You are over the top here.
> It is well known
> >> that supermarkets are scarce or non-existent in
> poor neighborhoods and that
> >> cheap fast-food places are prevalent. Add to that
> the difficulties often of
> >> adequate child care and transportation, the
> scarcity of nearby jobs, etc.,
> >> and you find parents who are too tired to prepare
> adequate meals.
> >> It's much easier to eat tastily and healthily
> when you can shop at Whole
> >> Foods or the like.
> >>
> >> Here in Oakland, at the height of the dot-com
> boom, many employers hired
> >> blacks in larger numbers than before or since.
> It's very hard
> >> to believe that pattern was not partly due to
> prejudice. True, many
> >> new black workers have poor work skills initially,
> but they are
> >> quite generally eager  to do well, in my
> experience. There is a "culture of
> >> poverty," but that is  substantially a
> culture of the beaten down and
> >> defeated. So yes, "victims" may bear
> some part of the responsiblity, but
> >> they do not not  "just play the victim"
> as MB would have it. And it is
> >> easier to shoulder responsibility when other
> things are going your way, on
> >> the whole.
> >>
> >> One would have thought all this would have gone
> without saying on this
> >> list.
> >>
> >> Best,
> >>
> >> Michael
> >>
> >> On Dec 26, 2008, at 11:18 AM, Michael Balter
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Oh, stop being so fucking predictable for
> Chrissakes. Leftism by the
> >> numbers, 1,2,3,4,.... As Eric says, unhealthy
> diets are not just due to
> >> poverty. Rich kids eat at McDonalds too.
> >>
> >> MB
> >>
> >> On Fri, Dec 26, 2008 at 8:14 PM, Phil Gasper
> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> >>
> >>> Spoken by someone who hasn't been in a
> McDonald's for quite a while, I
> >>> would guess. They are incredibly cheap and
> extremely convenient. But why let
> >>> facts get in the way when we can have a
> neoliberal rant at the poor? --PG
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> On Fri, Dec 26, 2008 at 12:41 PM, Michael
> Balter <
> >>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Eating at McDonald's every day is not
> cheap, at least not as much as it
> >>>> was.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> ******************************************
> >> Michael Balter
> >> Contributing Correspondent, Science
> >> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
> >> Boston University
> >>
> >> Email:           [log in to unmask]
> >>
> >> Website:       michaelbalter.com
> >> Balter's Blog: michael-balter.blogspot.com
> >> ******************************************
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > ******************************************
> > Michael Balter
> > Contributing Correspondent, Science
> > Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
> > Boston University
> >
> > Email:           [log in to unmask]
> >
> > Website:       michaelbalter.com
> > Balter's Blog: michael-balter.blogspot.com
> > ******************************************
> >
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> ******************************************
> Michael Balter
> Contributing Correspondent, Science
> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
> Boston University
> 
> Email:           [log in to unmask]
> 
> Website:       michaelbalter.com
> Balter's Blog: michael-balter.blogspot.com
> ******************************************