I already discussed in some length the relationship between poverty and ill health (see here and here). However, I haven’t mentioned one aspect of this relationship, namely obesity. Obesity is obviously a cause of ill health, and now it seems that poor people are more likely to be obese, in the U.S. at least:
There is no question that the rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States follow a socioeconomic gradient, such that the burden of disease falls disproportionately on people with limited resources, racial-ethnic minorities, and the poor. Among women, higher obesity rates tend to be associated with low incomes and low education levels. The association of obesity with low socio-economic status has been less consistent among men. Minority populations (except for Asian Americans) have higher rates of obesity and overweight than do US whites…
Our central hypothesis is that limited economic resources may shift dietary choices toward an energy-dense, highly palatable diet that provides maximum calories per the least volume and the least cost. The hypothesis [is] that healthier diets may indeed cost more. Adam Drewnowski and SE Specter (source)
This is another fact that supports the idea that poverty reduction will improve a population’s health, just as better healthcare will reduce poverty rates. (See also here). It also supports the more general idea of the interdependence of different human rights, in this case the right to healthcare and the right not to suffer poverty.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, … the poor have never had a statistically significant higher prevalence of overweight status at any time in the last 35 years. Despite this empirical evidence, the view that the poor are less healthy in terms of excess accumulation of fat persists. (source)