Last Sunday, the NYT ran the story: “The south Bronx, Plagued by Obesity, tops a Hunger Survey”. The nut graph was that “the hungriest people in America today, statistically speaking, may well be not sickly skinny, but excessively fat”. The article calls hunger and obesity the “flip sides of the same malnutrition coin”.
Dutifully the article plodded on with statistics, examples, surveys, and the usual reality that fresh produce and ingredients are hard to come by in a ghetto. “When you’re just trying to get your calorie intake, you’re going to get what fills your belly,” said Mr. Berg & NYT.
He’s getting closer. The one ingredient that wasn’t mentioned in the article was what impact does living below the poverty line have on daily personal satisfaction? We all want to be happy, fulfilled, and satisfied with our lives. What happens to a person who at every turn comes up against a wall that mentally shoots them down?
The do-gooders point their fingers at drugs and alcohol as evil. As the little note from our Surgeon General whispers on the back of a wine bottle, “Alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery and may cause health problems”. Isn’t that the purpose? For a few hours of a day to be numb to the grinding fear in the pit of your stomach and mind? It is not right to abandon your responsibilities but when life year after year stays in the abyss who can tell what is right or wrong.
With no happiness around or even the will to laugh, junk food kills the hunger and provides a food high. It is the only thing that a poor person can justify spending dwindling resources on. For a brief moment a person can go into a clean place with happy colors, music, and hide from a rat infested apartment, or worse.
“Bloomberg administration officials see hunger and obesity as linked problems that can be addressed in part by making healthful food more affordable.” That’s part of it as well as, “income supports, increasing healthy options and encouraging nutritious behavior”. All well and good but you need show people that they can feel mentally satisfied with a nutritious meal and not look at it as second fiddle to Micky D’s $1 special.
Time cooking is constantly discussed with the violins playing the 2 jobs, 4 children, no time song. I don’t disagree but before junk food there were tenements and overworked sweat shop families who must have survived. Some of us are from their stock. I don’t romance poverty in any generation but ours is a generation with an insidious food pied piper.
As a society we need to address how we nourish our bodies. Teach by example and lead nation on a healthy path. Unhealthy food will become an indulgence not a temporary happy fix.
The original article-