Katy Waldman interviews Debra, one of the 47 million people who just had their food stamps cut:
It was bad enough before the cuts: We were eating lunchmeat all week, and we only had enough for a can of vegetables a day. Divide $203 by 30 days, and then by 3 meals, and then halve it for each person. It’s not a lot. And now it’s going to be much worse. I don’t know if we can still do the canned vegetables every day. One thing we won’t do anymore is have three-course meals on weekends. We used to buy a dinner on Saturday and Sunday that would have three courses: a vegetable, a starch and a meat. But meat is going to be a huge problem.
Poorer women are the most likely to be obese among all ethnicities. But there are a few counter-intuitive surprises here. The richest men were, overall, more likely to be obese than the poorest groups. The groups with the lowest rates of obesity were rich white women and poor black men. Obesity rises with income for black and Hispanic men, but it falls with income for black and Hispanic women. The relationship is clearly more complicated than “a disease for poor people in a rich country.”
As the House pushes a bill to cut food stamps by $40 billion, there’s been greater attention paid to the relationship between food stamps, poverty, and obesity. The debate can be crudely summed up as: Are we paying poor people to become obese. The evidence suggests the answer is no.