Food experiment doesn’t reflect poverty reality – Reflections on Science

A group of medical students has penned a response to a column by a fellow student about living on $3.30 for food a day. They say the reality of poverty is not a single dimension: it is often accompanied by poor health outcomes including disease such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

Woman housewife looking check in storeAn excerpt (read in full):

Poverty is associated with lower education levels and higher rates of domestic violence including child abuse. Add a few of these struggles alongside the cost of food and the picture becomes more complex.

Secondly, poverty is not a choice or an experiment. Those living in it cannot switch between poverty and a more financially viable lifestyle.

As a society, and particularly as future health professionals, we have a responsibility to understand the societal constructs that have created poverty and inequity, to question them, fight them and have empathy for those that have been affected by them.

Thirdly, the NZ dietary guidelines advise eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, as well as mostly whole grains high in fibre. The so called “healthy diet” described in the article is severely lacking in nutrition and, if anything, emphasises that healthy food is less accessible to those living in poverty.

Continue reading…