Rich or Thin? Pick One


How did rich and fat become rich and thin?
We tend to forget that this has not always been so.

Richer, thinner, 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.

The complete poll results are:

richer    43%  
thinner  21%
smarter 14%
9% seem to like themselves just fine, and another 12% picked other qualities

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. The terrible irony is that these days, thinness is a luxury reserved for the rich. 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 see pork rinds and Dr. Pepper for sale on every corner but have to leave the neighborhood to find a head of lettuce. In general, the lower your income, the fewer the food options, and the less likely you are to cook your own meals or exercise. But the real culprit is our out-of-whack food system that makes it possible to sell highly refined, fat and sugar-laden, processed foods at far lower prices than fresh, whole foods.

Poverty is fattening; fat is impoverishing.
According to The Fat Studies Reader, obese women earn 9% less than the height-weight proportionate, are half as likely to have attended college, and are 20% less likely to have a working spouse. They’re also more likely to have health issues that lead to missed work, lost wages, and less professional advancement. It’s a dense web of poverty-obesity-poverty; an endless cycle of cause and effect and cause and effect.

Richer, thinner, smarter. Pick one and the others pick you.

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.

One Response to Rich or Thin? Pick One

  1. Kacy says:

    But if you’re smarter, richness and thinness will follow!

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