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Opinion: Poor and fat: The real class war
A class war that politicians don't talk about is the link between poverty, obesity and life expectancy, LZ Granderson says.
June 5th, 2012
12:32 PM ET

Opinion: Poor and fat: The real class war

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - Over the past year we've heard a lot about class warfare, the "Buffett Rule" and the tax code and so on. But if you want to see a blatant form of poor vs. rich, walk into a grocery store. Here we are forced to decide between what's good for our kids and what we can afford to feed them.

Ground beef that is 80/20 is fattier but cheaper than 90/10. Ground turkey breast is leaner than the other two but is usually the more expensive. And many of us can't even begin to think about free-range chicken and organic produce - food without pesticides and antibiotics that'll cost you a second mortgage in no time at all.

Recently Michelle Obama's campaign to get healthier foods into poor neighborhoods came under new scrutiny because two studies found her notion of "food deserts" - poor urban neighborhoods where access to fresh fruits and vegetables are supposedly nonexistent - doesn't quite jibe with the research. The studies have even found that there isn't a relationship between the type of food offered in neighborhoods and obesity among the children living there.

That may be true.

But it is also true that The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a study that found $1 could buy 1,200 calories of potato chips but just 250 calories of vegetables and 170 calories of fresh fruit. And it is also true that Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, is also the fattest.

Read LZ Granderson's full column

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Filed under: Economy • Poverty • What we think
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Another post for you to delete, LZ

    Oops!
    You've got it upside-down, LZ!
    They are gouging people who want low-fat food, not oppressing the poor with cheap food!
    Fruits cost more if you want them to look pristine. Specialty foods cost more because they both cost more and if there's any reason to gouge a customer, you can bet they'll take it and laugh all the way to the bank.
    Where's the closest farm? In farming communities some foods are less because there is no need to truck them all the hundreds of miles to your grocery store.
    Are you arguing that cheap food should be more expensive? Because that would be gouging the poor and would definitely be "class warfare" much more than your "oh poor people have cheap but fatty food oh no!" article.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. A critical comment for LZ

    Chief among the Jim Crow laws being used to disenfranchise minorities and the poor are laws against marijuana and other drugs, and voter ID laws.

    I think you need to research "class warfare" because fatty-foods at lower prices do not quite meet the criteria for "class warfare" compared to "legalizing marijuana" which you join together with "birthers" in a false-equivalency in your article.
    You may not use marijuana or like those that need it for medical reasons, but to lump them in with "birthers" is just disgusting hyperbole and you really shouldn't be doing that.

    Low-priced fatty-foods may seem like a bad health choice forced upon the poor, but if everyone was getting exercise it would never be a problem, so your point that this is the "real" class warfare is shown to be a very shaky argument that doesn't really stand up under scrutiny.
    Keeping poor people fat might be one small aspect of some sort of class warfare, but it is not the main thrust, does not specifically target the poor but is only the cheapest food having the most fat that you are arguing about.

    Tell those MILLIONS of poor, disenfranchised people in prison that they are there because they bought cheap fatty foods and they will laugh you right out of the visiting rooms.
    Get a clue, please, Mr. Granderson. This is not the proper way to support the First Lady and her laudable goals of reducing obesity. Do not use false equivalencies or ridiculous comparisons. And do not speak against help for medical patients just because you don't have cancer. If you ever get cancer you may feel embarrassed asking for medical marijuana but if people like you would quit sniping at it, some people might be able to eat those fatty foods instead of puking everything up from the chemotherapy.

    June 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |