Bad for the Economy, Good for Your Weight?

2011 may have marked the beginning of a good trend for Americans. Obesity rates were down from 2010, according to a report released by Gallup. While they have not delved deeply enough into the data to determine the cause of the decline, some experts believe it may be due to the economy.

The economy takes the blame for many problems, including the increase in obesity in recent years, which makes this conclusion interesting. Common sense- backed by many experts- will explain that when the economy is weak, more people are likely to eat fast food, because it is cheaper to get a fast food meal than to make a healthy meal at home. It seems that now, a suffering economy means cutting back on treats. Less ice cream, fewer specialty desserts, fewer 400 calorie coffee drinks that cost more than an entire fast food meal.

Slowly, the cost-conscious America that is developing during the recession is developing healthier habits. More homeowners have a garden in the back yard where they grow their own produce. More workers are cutting out their mid-afternoon “special coffee” break. Low-cost meals based around pantry staples are replacing less healthy, fancier meals with heavy sauces and specialty foods.  There is still a concern for the health of people who live in lower income areas, where grocery stores are scarce and fast food chains on every block. But for the majority of America, tightening the belt around their bank accounts might be leading to tightening the belt around their waist.

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