Do These Food Stamps Make My Ass Look Fat?

11Nov09

For my research module at the university I will be studying the hormones leptin and adiponectin. Of course, that’s after I figure out the logistics of the elusive UPLC/MS that no one around me seems to know how to operate. See my previous posting about fucking shit up to read more about that rant.  Anyhow, these adipose derived hormones have a correlation to body mass index. Adiponectin is inversely proportional while leptin is directly proportional to body fat percentage. I’ve been doing some background research involving obesity in general and stumbled upon some interesting facts that make me think about the cultural factors that lead to this condition.

As you can imagine, those living in poverty in underdeveloped countries are not likely to be obese due to lack of food and engagement in heavy manual labor. Here in the U.S. we have government programs to assist lower income families in order to prevent hunger. Researchers conducted a study at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research spanning 16 years, which compares 6,000 food stamp users to 4,000 non-food stamp users . The study found that the BMI of the food stamp group was 1.15 times higher than the non-food stamp group. The difference was even more apparent amongst women, with the female food stamp users having a BMI that was 1.24 greater. The gap is widest amongst Caucasian women, whose BMIs were 1.96 times greater than African American women.

The researchers conducting the study took into account that obesity is a condition that can be influenced by many factors, so they considered income levels, race, education, race, gender, and county of residence. They also determined the BMI increase before, during, and after receiving food stamps. Even after taking all these factors into account, they determined there to be a clear link between participation in the food stamp program and obesity. Furthermore, they concluded that people participating in the program for longer periods had even higher BMIs.

Unfortunately, good food is generally not affordable. Processed, prepackaged foods loaded with sodium, fat, and preservatives are fairly inexpensive. If I’m grocery shopping I can either buy one loaf of whole grain, natural bread or 4 loaves of white, Wonder bread. I can buy a jar of healthy pasta sauce and a box of whole grain pasta or 5 boxes of mac and cheese. For many needy families the decision is one of quantity and not quality of nutrition. Interestingly enough, there have been “food stamp diet” challenges to bring attention to how difficult it can be to eat healthy on a tight budget. It’s not impossible, but it’s even more problematic for individuals that are not educated regarding nutrition and healthy shopping habits (which many Americans seem to lack). I guess food stamps may be a double-edged sword.

Read the article about the food stamps study here.

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One Response to “Do These Food Stamps Make My Ass Look Fat?”

  1. you speak such truth. poorer communities in the US (urban areas particularly) get alot of calories from crappy food and too little fresh food, vggies, fruits, etc are available….and whole grains. what’s that?


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