What a sweetheart. The Economist offers authoritative insight and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science, technology and the connections between them. So why should people who sport them be targeted? If you look at film footage of the civil-rights demonstrations in the American South in the 1960s, the cops are usually slim—which is hardly the case today. For example, a few years ago British PM Anna Soubry, who served in the Department of Health, came under fire for observing that government policy and “an abundance of bad food” were causing an epidemic of fat children and low-income people in the UK. Something about being poor makes people fat. Abstract. Instead of large supermarkets, poor neighborhoods have a disproportionate number of fast food chains and small food stores providing cheap, high-fat foods. Of course, such a response not only makes one sound like a jerk, but is tragically short-sighted. Though there are many possible explanations for the income-body weight gradient, we investigate a promising but little-studied hypothesis: that economic insecurity acts as an independent cause of weight gain. Poverty, not gluttony, is the cause of obesity. Observing this fact aloud is not considered politic. The impacts are marked: Obese people spend 42 percent more on health care ($1,429 more per year), 4 obesity costs the nation $75 billion in direct costs each year, 5 the total cost of obesity is as high as $139 billion per year (indirect costs include absenteeism, disability and workers’ compensation) 6 and obesity is linked to approximately 300,000 deaths each year. Economic insecurity – such as trouble paying bills or rent – leads to stress, and people often cope by eating high-fat, sugary foods.

Obesity Too poor to be thin. “A third of our children leave primary school overweight or obese….

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