Poverty & Obesity:
How poverty and hunger influence food choices
ABSTRACT: Although levels of overweight and obesity are increasing throughout the entire world, they tend to be higher among individuals from low socioeconomic status (SES) and those experiencing food insecurity. Previous research has shown that cues that indicate poverty make people eat more calories. The present research examines what the underlying psychological mechanisms are that could explain this relationship. In a first study, 197 participants were recruited online, and randomly allocated to a scenario in which they were told that their current income level was relatively lower (poor condition) or higher (rich condition) than others. They were then asked to complete two temporal decision tasks, one related to money, the other to food. The results show that individuals with lower incomes or who were more hungry, reacted more impulsively towards monetary and food rewards in the poor condition compared to those in the rich condition. During the seminar, these results will be discussed in more detail, and preliminary results of follow-up studies will be presented.