Kentucky, the seventh fattest state in the country (which is no small accomplishment), is about to make a decision which could catapult their ranking to number one. Yum!, the parent company of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and others is lobbying the state to allow residents to spend their hard-earned food stamps on deliciously bad-for-you fried food.
Does the prospect of using government-issued monopoly money to buy a Crunch Wrap Supreme entice you? Perhaps. But is it wise? Probably not. It's well documented that obesity is a bigger problem among low-income Americans, and in fact, a recent Ohio State University study linked high BMI rates to food-stamp users. That connection becomes more problematic when you consider that an astounding one in eight Americans use food stamps these days.
Proponents of the change say it's an issue of personal liberty, that the government shouldn't tell you what you can or cannot eat (even if you're buying it with the government's money). Plus, in lots of low-income inner-city areas, there's not a lot of non-fast food available.
Opponents, obviously, point out surging obesity-related healthcare costs, especially among the uninsured, and suggest that legislators spend money on nutrition education and healthy cooking classes for low-income families so that they can learn how to prepare healthy foods for meals. But is that realistic? After a day of working for minimum wage or less, would you rather cook a lonely grilled chicken breast or gorge on a whole bucket?