Obesity in poverty

In developed and emerging countries, obesity is increasing at all stages of the life cycle. According to the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO) the current prevalence of obesity is 16% in the general population and specifically in the child population is 22% in boys and 16% in girls. These figures place us in the 4th European country with the highest prevalence of childhood obesity. The etiology of this pandemic is due to factors of various kinds such as genetic factors and social factors.

Socioeconomic status is found in the context of social factors. Obesity for decades has been associated with social well-being found in developed countries, and specifically in the upper echelons of them. However, obesity is currently increasing also among groups of the most disadvantaged classes, a group that is also growing in this time of economic crisis. The reason for this “poor” obesity is because access to healthy foods (such as fresh fruits and vegetables) is increasingly limited by this population, due to its high price. On the other hand, unhealthy (excessively caloric) foods have a fairly low price, therefore they become easily accessible products.

But it is not just because of limited access to healthy food that obesity exists in poverty; People with less economic resources also do not have access to the knowledge that the benefits of correct healthy habits entail, and even with the knowledge they cannot carry them out.

We can conclude that obesity is an increasingly widespread pandemic, and that its approach must begin with a good preventive device, as well as multidisciplinary treatment due to its nature. But it must also be taken into account that the profile of the affected population has changed and therefore the forms of treatment and prevention must be adapted to the economic possibilities of the affected subjects.

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