Friday, August 30, 2013

Poverty is not healthy for children and other living things

A new study shows poverty is bad for your brain:
The mental strain of living in poverty and thinking constantly about tight finances can drop a person’s IQ by as much as 13 percent, or about the equivalent of losing a night of sleep, according to a new study. It consumes so much mental energy that there is often little room to think about anything else, which leaves low-income people more susceptible to bad decisions.
Previous studies have shown it is also bad for your health and diminishes a child's chances to escape the cycle of poverty:
Poverty has other negative impacts. The chronic stress of growing up in poverty has been found to impair children’s brains, particularly in working memory. A study of veterans found that poverty is a bigger risk factor for mental illness than being exposed to warfare. The mental stress of being poor is also a major reason for why low-income people tend to have negative health outcomes like high blood pressure and cholesterol or elevated rates of obesity and diabetes.

Poverty takes its toll on health in a number of other critical ways: It prevents people from buying healthy food, makes people more likely to smoke, means they are more likely to live in areas with poor air quality, and can cause health problems that begin in the womb.
I've long been astounded that so many people believe living in poverty is a willing choice because, free government cheese. I can only believe these people have never been poor or spent any significant time among the poverty stricken. Poverty hurts. The poor have to work ten times harder just to accomplish the simplest tasks of daily life. Small wonder they seek to escape the pain and fear in short term pleasures when their future prospects are so harsh and uncertain.

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