Nutrition in the news: Facing obesity and hunger, at the same time

I read an incredibly interesting article in the New York Times today that I just have to share with all of you. The article, titled The Obesity-Hunger Paradox, details how many households in South Bronx are facing the problem of hunger and extreme obesity. The Bronx has a very high rate of obesity, with their residents 85% more likely to be obese than those in Manhattan,which is just a hop and skip away.

What makes this article so interesting, though, is how it groups obesity and hunger together, which are two epidemics that do not often run on parallel tracks, mainly due to the ideas we have about both. Hunger can no longer be seen so easily on the outside and obesity doesn’t necessarily dictate laziness or carelessness.

As the article mentions, people suffering from hunger in the South Bronx and other poverty-stricken neighborhoods in the US are not the emaciated forms we commonly associate with hunger, but instead, are morbidly obese. How can people who are overweight still be hungry? Well, as the article investigated, the people who had reported that they could not afford to buy food at least once in 12 months lived in neighborhoods peppered with fast food restaurants, pizza places and vendor carts, with no reasonably priced health food stores or even grocery stores in sight. Because many of the people living in these neighborhoods work low paying jobs or multiple jobs, the only food they are able to afford, when they can afford it, is fast food and processed food, which has almost no nutritional information and is high in fat, calories and sugar.

This dilemma is featured in the Academy Award winning movie Precious. She is morbidly obese but comes from a very low-income household where her mother does not have enough money to provide her with any food, better yet something with nutritional value.

Even though food hardship increased 19% nationwide in 2008, neighborhoods like South Bronx who are most affected, are taking a stand to help provide their residents with incentives to buy healthy, nutritional food for themselves and their families. According to the article, the city is now offering coupons with an extra 5$ for people who spend their hard-earned cash at farmers markets and health food stores.

To read the entire article, please visit

Most of the factual information in this article came from the New York times article, The Obesity-Hunger paradox, featured in the Sunday, March 14th edition of the NYTimes.



~ by therealnutritionist on March 14, 2010.

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