Thursday, October 23, 2008

Extra Cash From Government Program Linked To Higher Risk of Adult Obesity

“While a poverty-alleviation program launched by the Mexican government that has been modeled in the United States and around the world has led to improved health and cognition outcomes in children, a new study by University of California, Berkeley, researchers says that the cash component of the program has a downside for adults. The program, called Oportunidades, provides money to impoverished families on the condition that they participate in health-promoting activities, such as getting annual health checkups and attending nutrition and hygiene education seminars. This is in contrast to traditional welfare programs that provide cash to families based solely upon their income or where they live. The study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that adults in households that received more cash from the program were more likely to be overweight, obese and have higher blood pressure than those who had received less money over time. "It's a controversial finding because it suggests that adults are not necessarily spending the money wisely for themselves," said Lia Fernald, UC Berkeley assistant professor of public health nutrition and lead author of the study.”

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