May 6, 2017
I have had this conversation many times… There have been very few countries in this world, throughout history, where the poorest of the communities are the most overweight. Naura, for example, a tiny South Pacific Island with a population of 13 thousand, tops the charts as the most obese population at 94% chubbies, then comes Micronesia, the Cook Islands, Niue and finally Tonga rounding out the five top portly populations. The US hits the scales at number 9 of all the counties and number 1 in the industrialized nations on the world’s obesity scale. I have been chastised for suggesting that Food Handouts from the government be regulated, generally with the comment; “who are you to tell people what they can and can not eat?” And when I say, “I just care if people are OBESE!” Oh, Good Lord, that’s just a politically incorrect thing to say. But it’s time that we begin to address this HUGE issue with some intellectual honesty.
Well, it is quite obvious that our country is a leader in worldwide obesity and it is the most prevalent in those receiving “free food” due to financial inabilities. But why has it been a trending fact that these individuals become overweight while on the free food program? John Miltmore, writer for The Intellectual Takeout blog has this to say; “It’s a stunning shift in how we understand malnourishment. For almost the entirety of human history, the struggle for impoverished people was getting enough food to meet asufficient daily caloric intake. Today, the opposite is true: Low-income people are taking in too many calories (and often bad calories, at that) and are much more likely to be overweight than people in the middle and upper classes.” http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/us-has-fattest-poor-people-world-why) And it is not just this person’s blog that agrees with the connection between low-income people being obese, A 2010 study from Duke University proved this as did the Center for Disease Control. Is this correlation simply because low-income people do not have the intellect to purchase more healthful foods? Is it because chips, cookies, and soda taste yummy? OR, could it be that it is cheaper to buy heavy calorie-laden foods than it is to buy fresh vegetables and lean meats? And, considering so many fast food joints, pizza franchises and convenience stores are now accepting welfare money, making a bad food choice is so much easier now than ever before. Come on, a full meal deal, loaded with more than the average daily calories can be consumed for less than $5 bucks! So, do I think that most welfare recipients use the free food money they receive frivolously? Yes AND No! I believe that when folks are trying to stretch a buck, they will gravitate towards food items that are less expensive, which usually mean junk food/fast food, and sugar and fat are actually addictive to many bodies…the more you consume, the more you crave it. It is rare when I hear someone say, “I need more carrots and broccoli…I just can’t get enough of them!” Doritos on the other hand…
My solution is quite simple…just like the WIC (woman, infants & children) program regulates the amount and types of free food a woman receives for her child(ren), in the same manner, the food stamp program should be regulated. With the WIC program, there is no monetary value put on the items you can buy, just a list of approved nutritional food: Milk, Cheese, Bread, Eggs, Peanut butter, vegetables… Sure, these women must bust out their paper stamps to claim their items, and there is a bit of social shaming that goes with that concept, not to mention holding up lines, but it works! You can’t buy Cheetos, cookies, ice cream, etc on WIC, and no one seems to have an issue with this, because that is just how it is and those are the rules to receive FREE food for you and your child. And there was a time in the not so gone by past that food stamps were not cleverly disguised as plastic debit looking cards, even the new name, EBT sounds better than, food stamps. It seems quite obvious by this point, that the current way of distributing money for food is just NOT WORKING as planned. When 1 in every 3 children are overweight and 1 in 6 are considered obese, and the majority of these statistics are from low-income families who receive Welfare in the form of food; the system needs to change. If the entire point of the Welfare food program is to enable people to obtain nutritional food, why isn’t that being enforced? One would think that low-income people do not have high-end smartphones but the vast majority do. An app could be created that could easily scan the item to see if it qualifies under the NUTRITIONAL guidelines that a Welfare recipient should have to follow. This regulation works well for the WIC program, why not the Welfare Food program? Not only would this reduce Government fed obesity, but it would also thin out Welfare fraud. After all, no one is really chomping at the bit to steal or trade fruits and veggies on the black market, no they want premium food, like Porterhouse and Lobster, that’s where the money is!
If we truly want to get America healthy again, especially those on Welfare food who have found themselves tipping the scales as a result of consuming unhealthy items, then let’s do it. The problem must be addressed, and an easy solution formulated. If WIC can do it, so can the Welfare Food program.
Daniella Cross is the Guardian of 4Earth and the featured writer.
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