According to a recent CDC report, family income doesn’t influence the amount of fast food children eat as kids from wealthier households get the same daily calorie intake from junk food as their low-income peers do.
Past studies had found a strong link between low income and unhealthy eating, but the recent Centers for Disease Control survey shows that that may not be the case any longer. Scientists are now scratching their heads because the mechanism behind how income in combination with low physical exercise and poor diet can lead to childhood obesity has suddenly become more complex.
The recent CDC report was based on a survey that involved over 5,000 U.S. residents including children. The findings challenge the previous narrative that only children from four-member families that earn less than $31,500 per year (also known as low income families) get a great deal of their daily calorie intake from fast food. CDC researchers learned that rich kids do just about the same thing.
According to past theories, poor neighborhoods’ main trait is lack of nutritious food because healthy foods are too expensive and scarce for their residents. As a result, people in poor neighborhoods feed on unhealthy processed products or dine at fast-food restaurants thus increasing their chances of heart disease and obesity. Moreover, because these people’s food lacks vital nutrients, poor residents are also malnourished despite some of them being overweight or obese.
The CDC report shows that one third of kids with the mean age 11 said that they eat out at a fast-food location the day before they were questioned by a CDC investigator. Surprisingly, rich kids gained 13 percent of their daily calorie intake from junk food, while low-income kids said they gained just 11.5 percent.
Additionally, no matter how high family income was, obese and overweight kids didn’t report that they ate more or less fast food. The differences in calorie intake sources were not statistically meaningful in these kids, CDC reported.
Other recent studies challenged popular belief that living in a poor neighborhood is a certain recipe for weight problems. A recent survey conducted in Los Angeles showed that obesity rates didn’t soar in locations with high density of fast food outlets. But, study authors speculated that that may have something to do with LA residents’ habit of driving to a restaurant rather than walking or using public transportation like poor residents do.
Yet, researchers said about the recent study that poor kids may face additional challenges because their home meals are not as nutritious as those of rich kids. Additionally, streets in poor locations are less safe so many children from low-income families are less likely to go outside to play so their level of fitness is affected. So, growing up poor may still expose them to higher risk of obesity in adult years.
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