The Checkup: Convenience Makes Us Fat

It's not a cost or education problem, new data shows. We're fat because unhealthy food is the most convenient.

• Confirming what you probably already deduced by looking around, researchers have confirmed that most obese adults are not poor—meaning cost isn’t the underlying driver of obesity, as previously thought. A new look at data from the National Center for Health Statistics found that about 41 percent of our country’s obese population makes at least $35,000 a year, putting them well above the poverty line; only 20 percent are considered poor. The findings fly in the face of the current paradigm, under which everybody thought obese people were also impoverished and uneducated and therefore the way to combat obesity was by making healthy food cheaper and educating people on nutrition. But the latest data reveals that it’s not a cost issue; we’re hitting the drive through simply because it’s convenient. “Middle income people are the most overweight and eat fast food more regularly than anyone else. In contrast,  80 percent of those with low incomes cook at home at least five times a week,” reports Forbes. “Which is to say it is perhaps time to recalibrate our calculations as to how to get Americans to eat better. If people are choosing fattening food because it is ‘easy,’  even when they know it is bad for them, convenience needs to be the focus of our efforts to end the epidemic, not more education.”

• Should kids get tested for high cholesterol? It’s still a raging debate in the medical community now months after new health guidelines for kids were released and endorsed such regular testing. Some doctors are wondering if the experts who made the recommendations were influenced by their ties to the pharmaceutical industry, calling into question the guidelines themselves.

• If you’re planning on watching the Olympics, Men’s Health might have a way to make it even more fun: A London Olympics Drinking Game.