July 16, 2007

The Hungry Poor Kid Myth

Apologists for our poor education system are quick to find excuses for the system's poor performance. One of their favorite excuses, no doubt because it carries a powerful emotional appeal, is that poor student performance among the "poor" is due to hunger caused by lack of food.

That appeal is alluring to many, including most of the Democrats running for President in '08, who think that poverty in 2007 is like poverty back in Dickensonian times with hordes of malnourished children attending school (in between an hour of sleep and their sixteen hour workday as a chimney sweep or boot black).

But according to a new study/survey from the UK that excuse is two all-beef patties short of a Big Mac.


The Food Standards Agency found that contrary to popular belief, nutrition, access to food and cooking skills are not much different in poorer families.


Such a finding is apparently "surprising" to public health experts.


Public health experts said the results were surprising but showed everyone needed to eat a better diet.

There had been concern that diets among those on the lowest incomes were extremely poor and they faced more barriers to healthy eating.

Don't let the facts get in the way of your Marxist rhetoric.

Today, the "poor" eat like the rest of us, i.e., too much and not healthy enough.


But a survey of 3,500 people on low incomes found that the food they were eating, although not particularly healthy, was similar to the general population.

That means -- you guessed it -- the poor are turning into a bunch of fatties just like the rest of us.

Levels of obesity were found to be very high - 62% of men, 63% of women, 35% of
boys and 34% of girls were overweight or obese - but the FSA said this also
mirrors the high levels within the general UK population.

You might want to bookmark this study for the next time you read about how malnutrition is the cause of all our education woes.

9 comments:

sailorman said...

U.K. =/ U.S. Different countries. The purported existence of a problem in the U.S. isn't disproved by the lack of said problem in the U.K.

Also, the reality is that obesity (contrary to popular belief) isn't always linked to hunger. A kid can become obese by eating a large, high-calorie, dinner each night. A kid can skip lunch and still be obese. So could you.

However, that says nothing about whether or not you're hungry all morning, or whether your stomach hurts, or whether you are able to concentrate fully as a result.

If you don't believe this, try skipping breakfast for a week. While you're at it, have a small lunch; eat all your "saved" food at 9:30 P.M.

I'm sure you'll enjoy your week. After all, you can't be hungry or uncomfortable, right? You'd be eating the same food, and getting the same calories... so clearly you'd have NOTHING to complain about.


Right?

rightwingprof said...

Speaking of, I just went to the Amish farmers' market and picked up a half dozen ears of corn to make corn pudding, you know, with cream and butter.

rightwingprof said...

"Also, the reality is that obesity (contrary to popular belief) isn't always linked to hunger. A kid can become obese by eating a large, high-calorie, dinner each night. A kid can skip lunch and still be obese. So could you."

Ah, that would explain how liberals can scream about people starving to death on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and obesity the other days of the week.

Read Chicken Little. There's a lesson for you there.

sailorman said...

[shrug]

Hey, illogic is illogic. You can call me a screaming liberal if you want (I'm not), but if you want to post something that has logical flaws, don't get pissy at me for pointing them out.

I, personally, don't have a dog in this fight. I do hate idiocy, though. I'd also note that it seems pretty clear that the TIMING of eating is quite relevant to performance (see, e.g., relation of breakfast-eating to early-morning success.)

KDeRosa said...

sailorman,

The US isn't the UK, but, if anything, the US has an even higher incidence of obesity.

I know of no evidence that supports your position that a poor family that has enough resources to provide an abundance of food for a single meal a night, leading to obesity, has no other food available for any other part of the day. Even if such a phenomenon exists the child would still have to fail to take advantage of teh reduced and free meals provided at public schools. You are out on a long limb with this one.

FYI, I rarely ate breakfast as a kid (and rarely do so today) and I never have had hunger pangs so bad that affected my concentration.

Tracy said...

Also, the reality is that obesity (contrary to popular belief) isn't always linked to hunger. A kid can become obese by eating a large, high-calorie, dinner each night. A kid can skip lunch and still be obese. So could you.

How many people are eating according to this pattern?

Ryan said...

FYI, I rarely ate breakfast as a kid (and rarely do so today) and I never have had hunger pangs so bad that affected my concentration.

You're generalizing your personal experience into something more meaningful than it really is, Ken.

In my experience as a classroom teacher of 1st graders, I've had kids come to school hungry. They're significantly less productive than they are on the other days when they've actually eaten, and they also pale in comparison to the kids who aren't whinging on about bein hungry.

NYC Math Teacher said...

In my experience as a classroom teacher of 1st graders, I've had kids come to school hungry.

If they are coming to school hungry, then I assume that they qualify for free breakfast. That they are not taking advantage of that free breakfast is unfortunate, but what can you do short of jamming a muffin down their throats.

Anonymous said...

High fat food is far less expensive - and more filling - than fresh, healthy food. That's part of the obesity problem right there.