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How to Prevent "Recession Pounds" During the Economic Crisis

Some experts are of the opinion that Americans may gain “recession pounds” in the upcoming year. It’s been suggested that Americans will spend less on food these days due to the worsening economy, but some experts believe that if you’re one of them, you may put on weight while doing so. Seem backward? It’s not. These health professionals cite evidence presented in studies that link obesity to unhealthy diets in low-income families, thus “recession pounds.”

What is the connection between the state of the economy and gaining weight?
The general fear among experts is that people will cut back on food spending, but in doing so they will mostly eliminate healthy foods that are oftentimes viewed as “expensive.” Products such as fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh fish, and whole grains are all healthy foods that are relatively costly in comparison with less-expensive foods that contain high levels of sugar and saturated fats. 

As people attempt to save money on food, they may abandon healthy eating choices in favor of cheaper foods that are simply empty calories. Refined grains are also likely to become more popular (or popular again), as they are less expensive than whole grains.

Obesity, then it seems, is one of the results of a failing economy.

Research Backs It Up
Researchers have found direct links between income and obesity. Studies conducted in the Seattle area have found that the differences in obesity rates between different zip codes can differ up to fivefold. Zip codes belonging to lower income areas generally hold a much greater percentage of people who are obese.

In addition, studies conducted in California indicate that a gain of 10 percent in poverty can result in a six percent rise in obesity among individuals over the age of 20. Worldwide, the United States is already the nation with the greatest percentage of obese individuals. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated the number of overweight American adults at more than a third of the population – more than 72 million adults – and that the percentage of American children who are obese is 16 percent.

The impending recession has the potential to expand American waistlines even further as growing numbers of people fall prey to hard times and resort to cheaper and less healthy foods in an attempt to cut back on living costs.

Make the Right Choice
The sad reality of the situation is that the first area to feel the impact of falling incomes is food. In general, cheap foods are also sources of saturated fats and sugars. It is possible, however, to eat both affordably and healthier. This can be accomplished by relying on the same foods that got many Americans safely through the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Nutrient-rich foods such as beans, nuts, milk and cheese, carrots, potatoes, soup, canned tomatoes, and rice are both affordable and yet are high in nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals – much more appealing than sugar-loaded fatty junk foods.

Most people will not have any knowledge of such foods, however, and will resort to junk foods that are cheaper than foods generally considered to be healthy. It’s possible that, with the worsening economy, America may continue to outdistance other nations in the obesity race by an even greater margin.

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