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Stronger social safety net leads to decrease in stress, childhood obesity
Date:7/21/2011

percent of the poverty line, private food assistance networks can also play a key role in helping reduce food-scarcity stress.

"People know that if they're short on funds at the end of the month, they can go to their local food pantry and get some food," he said. "So a lot of people may be ineligible for SNAP but are still facing a very a stressful financial situation. Food banks really help those people, which in turn lowers stress and, by extension, obesity."

As many families face financial hardship as a result of the sluggish economy, Gundersen says that public policymakers need to be aware of the relationship between stressors and childhood obesity, which has only become more pronounced as income-inequality has grown over the last three decades.

"If present trends of income inequality are maintained, and if people are stressed by this and there is some evidence to suggest that they are, to the extent that it's your position versus others in society, and not your absolute level of income that, too, could lead to more obesity," Gundersen said.


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Contact: Phil Ciciora
pciciora@illinois.edu
217-333-2177
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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