The blubber is flowing in California. So says that State’s venerable University, Los Angeles division. It’s an epidemic! Both excessive fatness “increased significantly in just six years”.
This isn’t the worse of it. Researchers were horrified to learn that those fattest in stomach are those thinnest in wallets. The poor suffer more than the rich. “Adults living below the poverty line had a significantly higher prevalence of obesity (27.7 percent) than higher-income adults (19.6 percent).”
The Center for Health Policy Research at UCLA emphasizes that, “Low-income teenagers are almost three times more likely to be obese than teens from more affluent households.”
“Our neighborhoods are literally making us fat,” said Susan H. Babey…”We need better strategies and more thoughtful urban planning if we are going to make our towns and cities livable, not just places where we live.”
The Public Policy Institute of California agrees with UCLA: people are fat—fatter now than ever before.
There is some good news, however. We don’t have to live fat because—new research suggests—“obesity itself is arguably reversible. (p. v)”
Women and minorities and the poor are hardest hit. “Blacks and Hispanics in California tend to have higher poverty rates and lower levels of educational attainment than whites. (p. viii)” Presumably, better educated white men know when to say when—in terms of super-sizing, that is.
All agree: certain neighborhoods house more fat people than others. Dr Robert Koss of UCLA says, “The disparity in teen obesity prevalence among low-income and more affluent communities should serve as a wake-up call to policymakers.”
UCLA researchers “urge city planners to consider zoning ordinances to regulate the number of fast-food restaurants…” The Public Policy Institute produces pages and pages of regression analyses which prove the “idea that aspects of the neighborhood environment help explain obesity risk.”
One more bit of evidence, this from the California Endowment, Public Policy and Advocacy group. They turned their research-atorial gaze upon the Golden State and discovered what others had missed. Some kids were not fat but—and here I want you to follow me closely—that a significant proportion of “children ages 9-11 years old, are at risk of” becoming fat! The emphasis is mine.
Let’s summarize the story thus far. Californians are fatter than certain government bureaucrats would like them to be. Minorities, the poor, children as ever, and those that live in named neighborhoods are either fatter than their white, rich, adult, mansion-living counterparts; or they are not yet fatter but are at “greater risk.” Got it?
Enter the feds. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which heard the call of California and rushed to the State. The USDA ascertained quickly that the problem was food and people. Something not quite right about the combination: through some mysterious mechanism, the mixture produced obesity.
The USDA returned to Washington, puzzled over the problem, and, in time, produced research which concluded that there were too many Californians who lived in “food deserts.”
What is a “food desert”? The definition offered by reporter Joanna Lin is a place “where there is no nearby supermarket or large grocery store.”
Judith Bell, “president of PolicyLink, an economic and social equity research and advocacy group,” is hip to the USDA’s conclusion. “We know there are some places that are food deserts â€“ that if you were actually walking through the blocks or walking through the community, you’d recognize it as a food desert.” What other proof is needed?
And just where are these food deserts? In certain neighborhoods. Which neighborhoods? You guessed it, the very same neighborhoods which are packed with pudgy poor people.
How about that? The poor, who by definition have less money to spend on food, are eating more food than the rich, even though the poor can’t find the food with the same ease as the rich, who live in food oases. The explanation for this awaits better minds than mine.
But don’t go just yet, because on top of this, research also reveals that despite California’s “remarkable agricultural abundance and our nation’s unprecedented prosperity, over 5 million Californians are hungry or live in fear of hunger.” So says the California Food Policy Advocates, and so, inter alia, echoes the California Hunger Action Coalition.
The CFPA doesn’t say who these unfortunate emaciates are, but simple logic forces us to conclude that they are rich white people, folks who are within arms’ reach of bountiful harvests. Money is a curse which produces starvation!
Thanks to long-time reader Bruce Foutch for supplying the inspiration for today’s story. Don’t forget to call mom, everybody. A belated birthday to David Hume, an obese philosopher who turned 300 yesterday. And congratulations to Tiger Justin Verlander, who threw his second no-hitter yesterday. There have only been 271 official no-hitters before this.