Friday, February 5, 2010
For many households, the lack of money can contribute to both hunger and obesity. This apparent paradox is driven in part by the economics of buying food.
Households without money to buy enough food often have to rely on cheaper, high calorie foods to cope with limited money for food and stave off hunger. Families try to maximize caloric intake for each dollar spent, which can lead to over consumption of calories and a less healthful diet.
Thorough reviews of the scientific literature find no evidence that federal nutrition program participation causes obesity. In fact, some research finds that participation in federal nutrition programs greatly reduces the risk of overweight among food-insecure girls.
Research also shows that mothers restrict their food intake during periods of food insufficiency in order to protect their children from hunger. These chronic ups and downs in food intake can contribute to obesity among low-income women.