When you have to worry about whether you have enough to get by each month, you rarely think about what goes in your stomach, or the long term effects of food choices and daily habits. The B40 community in Malaysia comprising the bottom 40% of Malaysians in the economic rung have a lot to wade through in life – and this includes their health and the health of their household.
Not All Poor Are Scrawny
Whenever we think of the poor, images of thin, scrawny, malnourished, sunken-eyed individuals come to mind. While this is still very true, the irony is that poverty also brings with it unintended weight problems such as obesity. A recent study conducted in an urban poor community in Kuala Lumpur showed that a whopping 65.1% of adults who were part of the study were either overweight or obese. Only 7.3% from the sample size were underweight and 27.6% had a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI).
Data showed that in this community of urban poor, extra weight is an obvious issue.
What could possibly be the leading factor of weight issues among the poor? Being overweight or obese are a result of many factors, but synonymous to the urban setting, we can possibly speculate the reasons being:
- Over-consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods
- Lack of physical or recreational activities
- Poor food choices or eating habits
- Sedentary jobs that don’t require much movement or lack of job opportunities rendering some of them jobless
We’d like to further explore this topic – could this poverty-overweight paradox be true of other B40 communities in Malaysia?
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Explore our sources:
- Jo Ann Andoy-Galvan, Lugova H, Patil SS et al. F1000Research. (2020). Income and obesity in an urban poor community: a cross-sectional study. Link.