Diet-Related Behavioral Mechanisms in Times of Economic Constraint

  • A. R. Kelles
  • M. Shroff
  • A. Rinehart


Obesity is widely recognized as a leading contributor driving increase in global trends in many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes mellitus (DM) type 2, hypertension, and many forms of cancer. In the United States alone the economic burden of overweight is estimated at almost $100 billion per year. This estimate is in a country with the means to provide a national healthcare system. In developing countries, where nationalized healthcare is not a reality, the health consequences fall heavily on individuals and significantly reduces quality of life and increases days of work lost. Given the now inextricable interdependence of national economies, substantial future reductions in the work force of developing countries will have a severe global economic impact. To confront these trends it is important to identify both the high risk population and the causal mechanism driving the trend. Research has identified a disproportionately high level of obesity and related chronic disease among low-income populations in developed countries. A similar trend is occurring in many developing countries, although the increase differs dramatically depending on the level of urbanicity of the region in question. In fact, creating national programs and policies to address this shift in health and disease in developing countries is particularly complicated because the rise in obesity is superimposed over a context of persisting undernutrition among the poor.

Although there are several factors that can influence weight status, in this chapter we specifically explore dietary behavior patterns in developed and developing countries. In general, policies and interventions should strive to attain adequate quality diets among the target population as a part of an overall healthy lifestyle while preventing or reducing chronic overconsumption. The aim of this chapter is to explore the environmental context of low-income populations during times of economic constraint that promotes the continued consumption of poor quality diets. Current policies are also reviewed to identify those aimed at promoting diets adequate but not excessive in both quantity and quality among low-income populations.


Food Insecurity Diet Quality Dietary Behavior Economic Constraint Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Socioeconomic status


Cardiovascular disease


Diabetes mellitus


Coronary heart disease


Basal metabolic rate


World Health Organization


Department of Health and Human Services


Unites States Department of Agriculture


Centers for Disease Control


Food Stamp Program


Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


Food and Agriculture Organization


Human immunodeficiency virus


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome


Global hunger index


International Food Policy Research Institute


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NutritionNew York Chiropractic CollegeNew YorkUSA

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