Socioeconomic Status and Prevalence of Obesity
This research article covered a study that was done from 2004 to 2007 in Cameron County, Texas. This county is near the border of Mexico and has a large Mexican American population. The population of people surveyed was 810 Mexican American people aged 35 to 64 years old. The study documented statistics that the Mexican American population was at a higher risk for obesity, and wanted to test if any minor economic advantages had any affect on health factors such as obesity and diabetes.
Various factors can affect obesity and the health of a population. These can range from economic class to the country a studied population is from, and the culture surrounding that area. Rates of obesity in bordering areas to Mexico are found to be some of the highest in the whole United States (Fisher-Hoch et al., 2010). The study was documented in a way that randomly selected the participants, and then divided them into four socioeconomic strata (SES).
This study (Fisher-Hoch et al., 2010) found that those participants belonging to the lower socioeconomic classes had significantly amplified chances of having undiagnosed diabetes, while people in the higher classes were significantly less likely to have undiagnosed diabetes. They also found that an improvement in income had a positive beneficial impact on health in this community. Furthermore, rates of obesity with a BMI of ≥30 kg/m^2 was 57% in the lower four socioeconomic divisions (Fisher-Hoch et al., 2010).
Even the poor in the United States are among some of the most obese people in the world, and this amount of obesity is caused by multiple factors. These include the fact that cheap food is particularly calorie dense, but often nutritionally deficient. In addition, cheap food is also very convenient to obtain in the United States and affordable, but depending on the food it can be more time consuming to make. For example, rice and beans are cheap, nonetheless take time to prepare, while buying an also equally cheap meal at McDonald’s is very unhealthy, but requires no preparation on your part.
Another issue of obesity is malnutrition. Even if a person doesn’t appear obese or unhealthy to the naked eye, it does not guarantee they are in optimal health. They could appear “skinny” but be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. All these factors lead to obesity in American Populations, but Mexican American populations are particularly hit hard by these factors because of their proximity to low income areas in Mexico, the socioeconomic statuses of many of the population, and some may be immigrants from Mexico and not settled into life in the United States yet.
Fisher-Hoch, S. P., Rentfro, A. R., Wilson, J. G., Salinas, J. J., Reininger, B. M., Restrepo, B. I., ... & Hanis, C. M. (2010). Peer Reviewed: Socioeconomic Status and Prevalence of Obesity and Diabetes in a Mexican American Community, Cameron County, Texas, 2004-2007. Preventing chronic disease,7(3).