Does Poverty Cause Overeating?

cake-pops-693645_960_720Researchers at the Texas Christian University have found that the amount that we eat when we aren’t hungry as adults is directly linked to our family’s income when we were kids.

As researcher Sarah Hill explained, “Our research suggests that people who grew up in relatively impoverished environments may have a harder time controlling food intake and managing their body weight than those who grew up in wealthier environments.”

Published in the journal Psychological Science, the article explains that the researchers did a number of experiments to come to their conclusion. First, 31 non-obese women each received a bowl of chocolate chip cookies and one of pretzels and were told to sample and rate the products. Then, when they finished their ratings, they were told that they could eat as much as they wanted to while waiting for part two. They were then asked to describe their economic situation growing up. Researchers found that women from poorer backgrounds ate more of the goodies than those who came from wealthier homes.
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Two more experiments replicated the findings and leave room to ask more questions about need versus desire and the way that our background forms our impulsivity and needs.


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]

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