Obesity is a major public health problem in the U.S. While all segments of the population are affected, low-income and food insecure people are especially vulnerable due to the additional risk factors associated with poverty, including limited resources, limited access to healthy and affordable foods, and limited opportunities for physical activity. Even individuals who are highly motivated can have difficulty eating healthy and being active if their environments do not support or allow such behaviors (Institute of Medicine, 2009).
In addition, households with limited resources to buy enough food often try to stretch their food budgets by purchasing cheap, energy-dense foods that are filling – meaning that they try to maximize their calories per dollar in order to stave off hunger. Those who are food insecure may also overeat when food does become available, resulting in chronic ups and downs in food intake that can contribute to weight gain. This is especially a problem for low-income women, who often restrict their food intake to protect their children from hunger.
FRAC has developed this section of our web-site to provide the latest research and resources on overweight and obesity. Emphasis is given to low-income children and families as well as the important role of the federal nutrition programs in combating obesity.