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Obesity, diets, and social inequalities

Adam Drewnowski
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00157.x S36-S39 First published online: 1 May 2009


Obesity and type 2 diabetes follow a socioeconomic gradient. Highest rates are observed among groups with the lowest levels of education and income and in the most deprived areas. Inequitable access to healthy foods is one mechanism by which socioeconomic factors influence the diet and health of a population. As incomes drop, energy-dense foods that are nutrient poor become the best way to provide daily calories at an affordable cost. By contrast, nutrient-rich foods and high-quality diets not only cost more but are consumed by more affluent groups. This article discusses obesity as an economic phenomenon. Obesity is the toxic consequence of economic insecurity and a failing economic environment.

  • diet cost
  • energy density
  • energy intake
  • obesity
  • poverty
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