Two studies support this conclusion. Stress is a key factor in obesity epidemic among the poor.. One from Scotland, published In the journal Appetite, Documents the relationship between overeating, stress, and income inequality The other was published in Psychological Science, This article attempts to explain why being raised in poverty can lead to an insatiable appetite.
The definition of poverty in developed countries is different from that in developing and undeveloped countries. The other side of the globe, poor children are often sunken-eyed and have bloated bellies that protrude above scrawny, sickly legs.
Parasitic worms in the intestines of children can cause bloated stomachs in countries such as Africa. These parasites eat as little food as a child can afford. Swollen bellies in countries like the United States or the United Kingdom are often an indicator of poverty. However, they are not caused by parasites and are more common in the United States.
Low-income families have seen obesity become an epidemic. The problem has been addressed by policymakers who have focused on the availability and cost of healthy food. Good thing. Researchers are now focusing more attention on the emotional needs people in poverty. This is a highly stressful way to live.
The First Study: Environmental Influence on Eating
Researchers recruited 31 women of normal body weight to take part in the first study. Each woman was given a bowl with chocolate chip cookies and pretzels. She was then asked to rate and sample each snack. After the first part of the study was over, the women were given the option to continue eating the leftovers while waiting for the next one.
Participants were then asked to fill out a questionnaire about their childhood, including their opinions on the following statements.
- Growing up, my family had enough money to buy everything.
- “I was raised in a wealthy neighborhood.”
- “I felt quite wealthy in comparison to other people my age.”
Researchers gathered the answers from the participants and calculated the amount of food each person had consumed based on what was left in the bowls. The researchers found that women who felt hungry did not have a difference in the amount of calories they consumed, regardless of whether they were raised in poverty or in a wealthy environment.
But childhood environment It had an impact on How much food the women ate even though they were not hungry. Women from poorer backgrounds consumed more cookies and pretzels, and ate more calories than women who were from better homes.
The Second Study: Impact of low-Socioeconomic Status
Sarah Hill, a psychologist at Texas Christian University, and her colleagues performed three experiments to determine the energy needs of students. They then gave them snacks. 60 undergraduates from Texas Christian University answered questionnaires about their socioeconomic status in childhood and current.
A 12 oz. was consumed by half of the students. To satisfy their immediate energy needs, half of the students drank a 12 oz. of Sprite. The other half drank an equal amount mineral water. Ten minutes later, all participants were asked to evaluate and eat cookies.
Students who grew in wealthy households consumed fewer cookies if they drank Sprite. However, students from poorer homes ate the same amount of cookies regardless of whether they drank the soft drink or water.
Researchers wrote that food intake in individuals who grew up with high socioeconomic status varied according to their immediate physiological energy needs.
“These people ate more calories when their energy needs were high than when they had low energy.
Individuals who grew up in Low socioeconomic status Environments, however, are the Relationship There is a difference between food intake and physiological need Was decoupled. Their food intake was influenced primarily by opportunities.”
According to the researchers,
“Feeling poor relative [to] Others had a clear impact on calorie intake” and overeating was due “increased anxiety, especially anxiety due to expected negative social evaluations.”
It turns out that stress was not caused by worrying about where their next meal or snack will come from but from feeling excluded and thinking wealthier people were better off.
Unfortunately, even though affordable, healthy food may be available in low-income areas, it doesn’t mean that people with low socioeconomic status will eat them. This is not due to a personality flaw. It’s because people are simply different. may Insufficient nutritional information Literally, don’t know which foods are healthy and why. These people grew up eating cheap food, often full of sugar, calories, fat, and may not have been used to eating fruits or vegetables.