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Showing posts from May, 2015

Obesity, poverty and convenient myths

Policy makers don’t read tabloid newspapers. They read more serious broadsheets from the London Times to Figaro to the Washington Post. And these broadsheets often perpetuate the beliefs that make the upper social echelons happy or indeed smug. And among these beliefs is that which argues that the present epidemic in obesity is primarily a problem of the lower socio-economic groups. One cannot argue against the line that obesity rates are higher among the socially disadvantaged. Neither can one argue against comparably higher rates of suicide, homicide, drug abuse, violent crimes, indebtedness, heart disease, cancer and anything you care to mention but which you’d rather do without, thank you very much.
The fact that obesity, like suicide and homicide, is higher in those who are socially disadvantaged doesn’t mean it is absent in the socially advantaged. The differences in obesity rates are in high fractions such as 0.8 or thereabouts such that for every 5 obese persons who are social…