What is Poverty?
Poverty is defined as the state or condition of privation, or lack of the usual or acceptable amount of money and material possessions, based on total income received (Poverty Definitions, 2013). In the United States, poverty is measured by the “poverty threshold,” which is set by the United States government and adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index. In 2012, more than 16% of Americans and 20% of children lived in poverty. The poverty level in 2012 was $23,050 total annual income for a family of four. About 58.5% of Americans will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between the ages of 25-75. Poverty rates tend to be higher in rural and inner city parts of the country, as compared to urban areas. Hypothesis and Methodology
We hypothesize that there is a positive correlation between poverty and nutrition. This paper researches poverty and nutrition from the aspects of obesity, access to healthcare, access to grocery stores, transportation, the price of groceries, availability of fast food restaurants, government initiative programs, malnutrition, education and the school lunch program. What is the Link Between Poverty and Nutrition?
Food insecurity and poverty have become overlapping concerns in the United States (Anderson, 2007). There are two beliefs that have influence on national policy to extinguish poverty. The first belief is that food is the barest resource of the people. Food is extremely bare among urban populations and 50 percent of people in urban populations are malnourished and do not consume enough calories to meet the minimum energy requirements for each day. Also, 40 % of people living in rural areas do not meet daily energy requirement needed to live a healthy life. Ultimately, this statistic concludes that about 250-300 million people are undernourished daily. The second belief is that extinguishing poverty is an important topic because children and adults are unnourished, thus they cannot receive proper education or be gainfully employed because work performance is low due to poor nutrition (Sukhatme & Margen, 1981, p. 13). Key Terms
First, it is necessary to define several key terms in order to understand how poverty affects nutrition and overall health. Poverty has been previously defined. •
Food Insecurity: The consequence of conditions in which “access to enough food is limited by a lack of money and other resources.” Food insecurity is reflected in uncertainty about whether resources are adequate to provide enough food reliably, and is measured with questions asked as part of the United States Census (Anderson, 2007). •
Hunger: The consequence of insufficient food for an extended period of time. In comparison with food insecurity, hunger is when household members going without food. The United States Census measures hunger (Anderson, 2007). •
Obese: Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above 30. BMI is measured by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared (Anderson, 2007). •
Overweight: A body mass index (BMI) between 25-29.9 for adults or above the 95th percentile of the CDC growth charts for age and gender for children (Anderson, 2007). •
Malnutrition: A condition that develops when the body does not get enough calories, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ functions (Malnutrition, 2013). Access and Transportation to Grocery Stores
Low-income Americans tend to face higher prices and fewer choices at neighborhood food stores, as opposed to their wealthy counterparts (Anderson, 2007). The central problem with the choice and price of food is access (Anderson, 2007). Supermarkets tend to be located in the suburbs, while most low-income people in the United States live in rural and urban areas (Anderson, 2007). According to a study performed on the Twin Cities in Minnesota, most food categories had lower availability in low-income neighborhoods,...
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