Friday, April 11, 2008

Well Since The Bee Apparently Won't Print My Letter....

I guess I can print it myself. I sent it in a week ago and figure that if it has not appeared by now, it probably won't (although I have been wrong about that before)......

Dear Editor:
As I was downing my nightly bowl of ice cream, I came across Christopher Tasy's letter in response to your recent obesity story wherein he stated that the poor are simply not smart enough to realize that steamed broccoli is a better nutritional choice than a fast food burger and fries. In other words, they have only themselves to blame for being overweight.
Unfortunately, nutritional knowledge is not the entire answer as to why those in poverty tend to be more obese. A recent study at the University of Washington found that, on a calorie for calorie basis, junk foods are far cheaper than fruits and vegetables. While fruits and veggies are in fact rich in nutrients, they also contain relatively fewer calories. Those foods packing the highest energy density include pastries, baked goods and snacks. These foods are usually a better caloric bargain for cash-strapped shoppers.
To put this in terms of dollars, a 2000 calorie diet would cost under $5 per day if it consisted of junk food while a 2000 calorie diet consisting of low energy foods like "steamed broccoli" could cost over five times that much per day. If you only have $5 per day to feed yourself, you are more likely to gravitate toward those items which yield the most calories per dollar.
And even more tragically, because nutritious foods are increasing in price faster than junk foods, healthy eating is sadly becoming an unaffordable luxury for many.

Jeffrey W. Eisinger


At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Christopher Tasy said...

I thank Mr. Eiseinger for his comments about my letter to the editor. While on a calorie-for-calorie basis junk food may be cheaper than fruits and vegetables (based on a 2000 calorie/day diet), there are at least 2 points worth making: 1] if people adhered to 2000 calories/day, we would not have this discussion. Problem is, obese people are obese for a reason: they eat far more than 2000 calories/day. 2] part of the "fruits and vegetables" diet includes grains and starches, such as bread, rice, potatoes, ...etc. They are far cheaper than a Big Mac (5 pounds of potatoes at Food Maxx cost about $1.49)--that goes a long way.
While I can appreciate your comments, my argument remains: obesity (with few exceptions) is self-inflicted irrespective of social class.

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

Well, I will persist in believing that there is a strong economic predictor here. Anecdotally, I see many more heavy folks in the poorer parts of Fresno than I do in the wealthier parts. I am convinced that economics has to be a major influence on diet choices, rather than just lack of intelligence.



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