Why are poor people fat? – One of the oddest truths in modern American society is that a lot of poor people are fat. As I talked about in Survival of the Fattest, starvation has always been the problem, not obesity. But our modern poor are far more affluent than their counterparts of even a century ago, and the staple foods that once kept the wolf from the door (bread, noodles, cereals, rice and beans, etc.) are now side dishes for higher protein, higher fat entrees. And with middle-income folks finding they no longer have to plan meals because there’s a Burger Sovereign on every corner, we’ve got a huge segment of the population eating poorly.
A friend of mine recently had back surgery, and his doctor refused to do the surgery until my friend dropped some weight, as the extra poundage was a major contributor to the back pain. His doctor told him something that he found odd– the doctor said to keep track of what he spent on food for a month, then double it the next month. That’s all. No direction on what to eat, just to spend twice as much on food as he had the previous month. Suddenly he and his wife had to rethink their meal patterns– filet instead of hamburger; salmon, tuna steaks, asparagus and mushrooms. Meals that had been for special occasions now happened every day. My friend figured the doctor was nuts, and wondered what the doctor would say when he gained weight from all this fabulous food. The appointment day arrived, and the scale said– my friend had lost nine pounds. Huh?