Despite the popular myth, being poor does not increase your likelihood of eating fast food.
Fast food may be relatively cheap and unhealthy, but the link between poverty and fast food intake is no stronger than between any other economic class. In fact, a recent study confirmed that middle class Americans actually consume the most fast food.
An existing correlation between obesity and poverty supports the misconception that poverty and fast food are connected. Beyond that, fast food is a relatively cheap food source, when compared to other dining out sit down restaurants.
Still, don’t expect this trend to change anytime soon. The cost of fast food increased by six percent in 2016, while at-home eating dropped by one percent. Meanwhile weekly income, after accounting for inflation, has not shifted for the lowest socioeconomic class since the 1980’s.
So if income isn’t the biggest factor, then what is? The study actually found the strongest link was between fast food intake and higher work hours. Compared to other industrialized nations, the U.S works the longest hours, at just a little more than 40 hours per week. These busy days leave little time for people to cook home made meals. Instead, they opt for quick and fattening fast food meals.
The answer to America’s ongoing fast food problems is more based on finding the time and patience to make healthier meals than its availability to the poor.