Poverty causes obesity. Low-income families need to be better off to eat well

Larry Elliott of the Guardian reflects on a recent paper by Alexander Bentley, Paul Ormerod and Damian Ruck, which looks at how obesity evolved in the US between 1990 and 2015. He discusses implications for the UK, and suggests a different way forward for the UK government's policy approach to the obesity crisis.

This article sets out some of the key points from a recent academic paper that explores the link between income levels and obesity rates. The author calls for a different approach to tackling the obesity crisis, focusing more on public policy instruments that can address the root cause of diet inequality by helping to boost incomes and providing out social safety nets. 

"If governments are serious about tackling obesity, they need to ensure special attention is paid to low-income families. They need to use the tax system so that employers have the incentive to hire rather than fire; they should be more generous with tax credits to top up the incomes of the working poor; and they should resist pressure to reduce budget deficits by cutting benefits. The message for the politicians is clear. There will be less obesity when people can afford to eat better – and more expensive – food. To do that they need to be better off."

Read the full article: Poverty causes obesity. Low-income families need to be better off to eat well