Unlike wealthy neighborhoods dotted with banks and health food stores, low-income neighborhoods are often filled with pawnshops, check cashing outlets, payday loan outfits, and stores that rent furniture and appliances. Dollar menus draw many low-income folks into fast-food joints, while convenience store shelves are stocked with cheap solutions like soda, chips and sugary snacks.
These businesses offer high interest rates and bad nutritional choices, Cooper said.
“These institutions are predatory,” Cooper said. “(Low-income people) are in these lifestyles where they are underemployed, working two jobs, they are tired and just trying to keep the household running. They are not making healthy choices.”
Melissa Ludwig explores the connection between poverty and unhealthy food choices in the article above. She also discusses programs that educate the poor about better food choices.
Unfortunately, the unhealthy habits of many poor people parallel the same unhealthy habits in many middle-class people. Because unhealthy food tends to have addictive qualities, corporations make more profits by pushing unhealthy foods onto the public – both poor and not – in the same way cigarette companies push addictive cigarettes onto the public. Corporations will always want profits, so if we want to improve our eating habits we have to do it ourselves.
Nobody can behave better unless they know better. Poor people tend not to have access to the same education, including education about health and nutrition. All in all, I see this nutrition issue as just another example of the importance of education in ending hunger and poverty, and making a better world for us all.
What do you think?