How Did Rich and Fat Become Rich and Thin?

image via Mannequin Madness


Richer, thinner, younger, smarter; what if you could change one thing about yourself? Which would you choose?

A recent Harris Poll asked this question.

Not surprisingly, given the current economic climate, richer was the top choice. But thinner came in a strong second picked by one in five respondents overall, and one in four women.

We tend to forget that this has not always been so.

Thinness was, for most of recorded time, the fate of the lower classes with their inadequate diets and physical labor. Traditionally, only the rich could afford to be well-fed. Fat was a status symbol.

Not any more. In fact the polar opposite is now true: as income and education falls, obesity rises– both the rate of obesity and the amount of excess weight. The poorest Americans, those living below the poverty level, are the most likely to be morbidly obese.

The underlying causes are many, especially for the urban poor who face high concentrations of fast food outlets and low concentrations of grocery stores, plus limited time for exercise or access to outdoor space. But the big culprit is our out-of-whack food system that can sell highly refined, fat and sugar-laden, processed foods at far lower prices than fresh, whole foods.
The terrible irony is that these days, thinness is a luxury reserved for the rich.

For the record, the complete poll results are:

richer    43%
thinner   21%
smarter   14%
younger   12%
and 9& seem to like themselves just fine.
Visualize the caloric bang for the buck: see why a Big Mac costs less than a salad (spoiler alert– it’s the federal subsidies).
The Rich & Thin Club claims to simultaneously whip your waistline and your bank account into shape by monitoring calories coming in and dollars going out. It theorizes that small, unnecessary, everyday indulgences are the undoing of both. Calculators demonstrate the impact of 10 years of Starbucks lattés or restaurant appetizers in terms of accumulated pounds versus an early mortgage payoff or the compounded interest of savings. It’s an eye-opener.

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5 Responses to How Did Rich and Fat Become Rich and Thin?

  1. Thanks for stopping by our blog. I agree that autumn is a magnificent time of year. As for your report about wealth, it makes logical sense. I think with the economy in the shape it is in wealth would be a more important goal than health at this point. Great insights.

  2. sophia says:

    I know. What an irony. I think back to a few decades ago, when moms were proud to have plump daughters. And now, all the mothers are nagging at their daughters to lose weight.

  3. Monet says:

    I believe it. We spend so much money on junk food that is hurting both our bodies and our wallets. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Janice says:

    It does add up.

  5. OC2Seattle says:

    Wow! Those calculators are serious eye-openers. Goodbye Chai Lattes, hello bi-weekly mortgage payments 🙂

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