Thursday, June 4, 2009

Income distribution and the level playing field

Priviledge and a level playing field...
In America poor women are given subsidies for child care in order to allow them to work. But the study notes that women who go from welfare to work are more likely to have obese children. So subsidies that encourage employment may have the perverse effect of creating obese children.

Much depends on what type of care parents choose (care by relatives, school-based programmes, centre-base care, etc). Many poor women depend on centre-based care and the authors note evidence that "many child care centers in the U.S. fail to provide children with healthy foods and sufficient opportunities for physical activity." But there are often no other viable options. So in order to reduce obesity, perhaps additional subsidies need to go towards improving the quality of child care provided to struggling moms.
If you are thinking 'so what?', then check this one out:
It is extraordinary that there exists such a strong negative correlation between obesity and income. Fat was once a symbol of wealth. As David Leonhardt points out, fattening food tends to be cheaper. That makes taxing unhealthy food difficult because it can be a regressive tax.

The above are found at Free exchange, the blog (my home page on my browser)

The first one is How child care makes children fat and the second one is The biggest Loser. Click, enjoy (even if you are sipping your caipirinha at Anse Source d'Argent) and remember, income distribution matters in more ways than we can often imagine......