Being poor makes you fat. How unfair is that? It's bad enough you're poor without food sticking to your tum.

A news report states: "Adults living in poor areas [are] 1.6 times as likely to be obese as those in other areas." Poverty is not the problem. It's living in poor areas. Moving house should do wonders for your waistline.

University of Otago Professor Jim Mann explains: "Being economically disadvantaged is a predisposing factor to obesity."

His is the politically correct expression for the poor. "Being economically disadvantaged" renders poverty an affliction. As in, "Poor fellow, bad dose of economic disadvantage. Caught it off the neighbours."

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But why does being poor make you fat? "One reason is good food preparation requires either time or money. If you are rich you can get good food or if you have a lot of time you can soak the lentils, et cetera," says Mann.

It's the non-soaked lentils? Seriously? Besides, people in the past were poorer and weren't fat. And they didn't soak their lentils.

Mann goes on: "Once you are obese it also feeds socio-economic disadvantage because you are too exhausted to work, getting jobs is more difficult, people are prejudiced against obese people and people are less likely to employ you - this is the vicious cycle."

So you are poor and get a little fat. Once a little fat you get poorer and consequently fatter. On and on it goes.

But how does the professor square the lack of work with the lack of time? The unemployed have all day to soak their lentils, et cetera.

And how does he know being poor makes you fat? It could be being fat makes you poor.

Or it could be something else entirely making you both fat and poor.

It could be being on welfare. Maybe the benefit should come with a health warning: "Studies show accepting this benefit makes you poor and fat." Or maybe there's yet another variable making it more likely you will be welfare-dependent, poor and fat.

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Here's a thought: it could be a lack of personal responsibility. That could explain the not working, the failure to eat properly and the willingness to live on a Government cheque while not providing anything in return.

Nope. That can't be right. That would make Mann the problem. His entire argument is it's not our fault.

We are poor because we are economically disadvantaged. Being poor makes us fat. And being fat means we can't get work. That makes us poorer. And fatter. And welfare dependent. It's all being done to us.

We have no time to soak lentils. And fast food companies make us eat their food.

We are powerless. We are victims. But we are lucky, indeed, to have the professor explaining that our predicament is not our fault or responsibility.

Debate on this article is now closed.