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Obesity Takes San Antonio

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Hannah R

Professor Hudson

WRC 1023.022

9 November 2016

Obesity takes San Antonio

In the city of San Antonio, poverty claims nearly 20% of the population (Quickfacts). The families and individual people with incomes below the poverty level reside in areas surrounding the heart of San Antonio while the wealthier part of the population live either directly in the city or on the outskirts. In poverty stricken neighborhoods, obesity is most definitely prevalent, but is not relevant to everyone due to the varying lifestyles of those living in poorer conditions. The claim that obesity is rampant in economically challenged neighborhoods is very misleading and not correct in the sense that the scale/definition of obesity is not accurate and/or consistent for the several different ethnicities that make up that population. Also, the 20% of people living with economic struggles have incredibly different reasons for being in that specific situations and have different lifestyles that affect their health. With these different factors, the claim that obesity is rampant in economically challenged neighborhoods is misleading and ultimately does not apply to the entirety of the 20%.

The claim that obesity is rampant in poorer neighborhoods is true for some, but not others. Ultimately, obesity is not only present in economically challenged neighborhoods but in richer neighborhoods as well. In San Antonio, some of the most luxurious and tourist-driven places are surrounded with fast food restaurants. Places such as the Riverwalk, the Alamo, La Cantera and the Rim are just some to name a few that bring in thousands upon thousands of people that are willing to spend money on food ranging from a super cheap taco at Taco Bell or a 40 dollar steak at Fogo de Chao on the Riverwalk. So why not assume that wealthier people are the ones that make up the obesity percentage of the population because they can afford to dine at these places daily and not worry about their finances? Well, just like the claim that obesity is rampant in poorer neighborhoods because of the availability of cheap fast food, it is not completely true to assume the same of wealthier people because their is a lack of consideration of lifestyle and ethnicity. Lifestyle and ethnicity are major factors into one’s health because some are more susceptible to obesity than others due to these factors.

Lifestyle wise, (either individually or one being involved in a family) there are two types of work styles that may prevent or encourage the consumption of unhealthy foods or little to no foods at all. There are those that are working and those who do no work at all. Within these lifestyles, there are different demands and activities. Lifestyles that involve working families require the fulfillment of housing and basic necessities and in some of the most extreme cases (poorer families specifically), certain things like nutrition and health are sacrificed in order to make ends meet in other areas. The different lifestyles among people have different timelines and ongoings events that either encourage or diminish the ability to have nutritious food, and as previously mentioned, the better option may be sacrificed in order to survive. To sum up, different lifestyles affect one’s ability to have the proper food necessary whether it be fast food or little amounts of food in general. This is similar to that of a wealthier person in that although there are more food options and less of a worry for financial strains, there is still the lack of time and/or effort to get food that is nutritious. So while obesity is definitely present in economically challenged neighborhoods, it is still prominent in wealthier neighborhoods as well. It truly depends on one’s situation (work and family life) whether or not obesity is a result of their economic situation or not. Therefore, the claim that there is a correlation between poorer economic status and obesity is false due to the fact that obesity depends on the lifestyle (and ethnicity), not the amount of money one has.

Not only is lifestyle a major factor of obesity, but ethnicity is as well. Nearly 60% of the 1,327,407 people in San Antonio are Hispanic, and the remainder includes races of whites, Hispanics, Asians and more (Demographics). Every body type within an ethnicity accepts weight differently, which ultimately affects their BMI (Body Mass Index score). Different ethnicities are disproportionately affected by obesity than others, African American and Latino specifically. So why are they affected more than whites? Body makeup is a main component. Obesity related conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are more common in African American and Latinos, which coincidentally, is the majority of the poorer population in San Antonio (Relationship). These body types are more susceptible among these ethnicities and it is predominantly because of their physiological makeup (wide range of body shapes, etc) and or response to fat storage, not their eating habits (Gatineau). So when it is claimed that poorer neighborhoods are obese due to the easy access to food, it is not always the case. That claim is disproven by the ethnic response to body fat storage, and as previously mentioned, it is not just the poor the over-consume fast food, it is people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and lifestyles.

Within the ethnicity factor is the BMI scale. BMI is short for Body Mass Index, a scale that is used to determine the amount of fat in one’s body. A score higher than 25 translates to overweight and a number higher than 30 indicates obesity (Cespedes). However, when calculating this, only height and weight are taken into account. Important factors such as muscle mass, different kinds of fats, and exercise are all important for determining one’s health, yet they are left out in a scale that doctors use to measure necessary treatments for health (Cespedes). A person could weigh over the specified weight for their height yet still be very fit because that weight is their muscle. So, the test is very misleading and may improperly qualify a person to be a statistic of obesity even though



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