Obesity and overweight are serious problems, which pose a great financial burden on national resources.
But those who are food-insecure or low-income also face unique challenges in adopting and maintaining healthful behaviors, as described below. Limited resources and lack of access to healthy, affordable foods.
Instead, residents — especially those without reliable transportation — may be limited to shopping at small neighborhood convenience and corner stores, where fresh produce and low-fat items are limited, if available at all.
Comprehensive literature reviews examining neighborhood disparities in food access find that neighborhood residents with better access to supermarkets and limited access to convenience stores tend to have healthier diets and reduced risk for obesity Larson et al.
Households with fewer resources e. Food choices and purchases may be constrained by limits on how much can be carried when walking or using public transit e. Transportation costs also cut into the already limited resources of low-income households, and these costs plus travel time can be substantial Rose et al.
When available, healthy food may be more expensive in terms of the monetary cost as well as for perishable items the potential for waste, whereas refined grains, added sugars, and fats are generally inexpensive, palatable, and readily available in low-income communities Aggarwal et al.
Households with limited resources to buy enough food often try to stretch their food budgets by purchasing cheap, energy-dense foods that are filling — that is, they try to maximize their calories per dollar in order to stave off hunger DiSantis et al.
When available, healthy food — especially fresh produce — is often of poorer quality in lower income neighborhoods, which diminishes the appeal of these items to buyers Andreyeva et al.
Low-income communities have greater availability of fast food restaurants, especially near schools Fleischhacker et al. These restaurants serve many energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods at relatively low prices. Fast food consumption is associated with a diet high in calories and low in nutrients, and frequent consumption may lead to weight gain Larson et al.
Cycles of Food Deprivation and Overeating Those who are eating less or skipping meals to stretch food budgets may overeat when food does become available, resulting in chronic ups and downs in food intake that can contribute to weight gain Bruening et al.
Unfortunately, overconsumption is even easier given the availability of cheap, energy-dense foods in low-income communities Drewnowski, ; Hilmers et al. Such a coping mechanism puts them at risk for obesity — and research shows that parental obesity, especially maternal obesity, is in turn a strong predictor of childhood obesity Dev et al.
High Levels of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Members of low-income families, including children, may face high levels of stress and poor mental health e. A number of recent studies find associations between food insecurity and stress, depression, psychological distress, and other mental disorders Laraia et al.
Research has linked stress and poor mental health to obesity in children and adults, including for adults stress from job-related demands and difficulty paying bills Block et al.
In addition, a number of studies find associations between maternal stress or depression and child obesity Gross et al. Emerging evidence also suggests that maternal stress in combination with food insecurity may negatively impact child weight status Lohman et al.
There also is growing evidence that low-income mothers struggling with depression or food insecurity utilize obesogenic child feeding practices and unfavorable parenting practices that could influence child weight status Bronte-Tinkew et al.
Fewer Opportunities for Physical Activity Lower income neighborhoods have fewer physical activity resources than higher income neighborhoods, including fewer parks, green spaces, and recreational facilities, making it difficult to lead a physically active lifestyle Mowen, Research shows that limited access to such resources is a risk factor for obesity Gordon-Larsen et al.
There is emerging evidence that food insecurity is associated with less physical activity and greater perceived barriers to physical activity e. This is not surprising, given that many environmental barriers to physical activity exist in low-income communities. When available, physical activity resources may not be attractive places to play or be physically active because low-income neighborhoods often have fewer natural features e.
Crime, traffic, and unsafe playground equipment are common barriers to physical activity in low-income communities Neckerman et al. Because of these and other safety concerns, children and adults alike are more likely to stay indoors and engage in sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games.
Not surprisingly, those living in unsafe neighborhoods are at greater risk for obesity Duncan et al.Trends of Childhood Obesity among Young Low-Income WIC Children in the United States, During –, the overall prevalence of obesity among young low-income children in WIC increased significantly, from % in to % in and to % in ; during –, the overall prevalence decreased significantly to %.
Children from low income families are far more likely to suffer from childhood obesity due to the lack of supermarkets available, due to the affordability of nutritious foods, due to the lack of government funding for assistance programs, along with many other factors.
Poverty and obesity often go hand in hand because low-income parents may lack the time and resources to make healthy eating and exercise a family priority.” (Mayo Clinic Staff). Some health risks that come along with being obese as a child is asthma, high blood pressure, liver problems, menstrual problems, trouble sleeping, heart disease, .
LOW INCOME FAMILIES AND CHILDHOOD OBESITY Low-Income Families and Childhood Obesity Low-Income families and Childhood Obesity Introduction One of the most common problems associated with the current way of life overweight.
Obesity and overweight are serious problems, which pose a great financial burden on national resources. With low- income families being the main focus point on the problem of obesity in the eyes of society, because many believe that they waste there assistants on junk foods, which is far from fact, the cost of healthy foods has become far too expensive for many Americans to purchase especially low-income families.
Childhood obesity is difficult health problem because it has biological, behavioral, social, economic, environmental, and cultural causes (Koplan, Liverman, Kraak, , pg ). Each one of the causes stated above can have many different influences for .