Monday, March 15, 2010
The South Bronx, where my parents and grandparents grew up, is now the leader of "food insecurity". What is food insecurity, you say? Well, it is a new term to explain how areas of the country can statistically be the "hungriest" yet still be morbidly obese. Don't get it? Neither do I. Check out the discussion in a piece in the NYT. The concept is that "the scarcity of healthful options in low-income neighborhoods" drives the people to eat these empty calories. The debate is whether the poor would even choose healthy options anyway.
Much of this topic comes from a Gallup survey which asked more than 530,000 people across the nation a single question: “Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”
I am not sure that this type of question proves that they don't have enough money for food. Many have subsidies (food stamps). Many choose to purchase cigarettes for an excessive price. One could argue that we should lower the price of cigarettes so that they would have enough money to buy healthy food. I don't advocate that but this is the kind of logic that speculation and postulating gives you. Personally, I don't think one-question surveys are the answer. Someone has to get in there and do some real research and real trial and error attempts at change. Later in the piece the NYT talks to a professor at Columbia who says:
Poor people “often work longer hours and work multiple jobs, so they tend to eat on the run,” said Dr. Rundle of Columbia. “They have less time to work out or exercise, so the deck is really stacked against them.”
Maybe. But what about those who are not working? The good professor makes way too many assumptions. I have many patients who are not working and still don't eat right, exercise and now have tremendous health problems including obesity. They may be food insecure but giving them a label sure doesn't help their motivation or my ability to help them. Anybody have some other ideas?
Posted by Authentic Medicine Blog at 5:22 AM