A recent study put out by the Robert Koch Institute found that rates of smoking and obesity are significantly higher among individuals from lower socioeconomic classes. I didn’t find this study to be all that surprising. Although preparing and cooking foods at home is cheaper than going out for fast food, it requires time. Even just riding the bus to and from work, at least in the Minneapolis – St Paul, MN metro area can expect to take at least 45 minutes to an hour on average. Where riding the bus is cheaper and sometimes preferable (for instance for those people who work downtown and would prefer to not pay to park), time becomes the real resource. If stopping for fattier, less nutritional fast food saves time, than the price is worth it. When it comes to smoking, I wonder if smoking becomes almost an element of self care; it is relaxing and you get a break from whatever job you work to have a smoke. I wonder if actual leisure time, free from childcare and work, might be a change agent for those negative health habits. I have no idea how implementing this sort of idea would work, but it seems interesting.
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International (2010, January 15). Poor people smoke more. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 16, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/01/100115112048.htm