In 2007, the bhut jolokia, 100 times hotter than the average jalapeño, made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s hottest chili…only to be dethroned in the book’s latest edition by the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T. Although the bhut jolokia has lost its world-record title, it’s recently found a more practical role: alleviating poverty in its home province of Assam.
At The Guardian, Helen Pidd describes how bhut jolokia, also known as the ghost chili, became a lucrative crop for impoverished Assamese farmers when its world-record status drove fans of spicy foods to offer enormous sums for the fiery chili.
As income rises, the frequency of fast food visits rise as well, at least until income hits $60,000 a year; sit-down restaurant visits just keep on rising. (The y axis is frequency of visits.)
Obesity rates in the United States are highest among the poor, and high up on most lists of reasons why, you’ll find the truism that fast food is cheap food, and the poor, who can’t afford healthier fare, are its main consumers. A new study suggests, however, that the people eating the most fast food are middle class, with incomes as high as $60,000 a year. Using a national database of about 5,000 people, researchers at UC Davis found that the frequency of people’s visits to fast-food restaurants increased with rising household income until $60,000, when frequency started to go down (though, interestingly, people making more than $100,000 still went to fast food more than those making $20,000). Visits to sit-down restaurants, on the other hand, increased with rising income and just kept on growing.
Researchers have long suspected that living in a bad neighborhood can be hazardous to your health—whether because of poor access to health care and a paucity of areas to exercise in and stores that sell healthy food, or some combination of other factors, living in a poor area means you have a disproportionate chance of becoming ill and obese. But how can you tell whether that effect is intrinsic to poverty, or whether it can be reversed if people move into more well-off neighborhoods? With a giant, long-term study that gives families in poor neighborhoods a chance to move to other areas.
The results of such a study, conducted by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, have now been published, and they show that moving from low-income housing projects to a neighborhood with less than 10% of people living below the poverty line does have a positive effect on health. Read More
Cysticercosis. Brucellosis. Dengue Fever. The names of these diseases are not familiar to most Americans, and they’re so obscure that U.S. doctors often don’t think to check for them. But a new analysis shows that these infectious diseases, which are usually associated with developing countries in the tropics, are surprisingly common in the poorer areas of the United States.
Peter Hotez, the report’s author, says the diseases go untreated in hundreds of thousands of poor people who live mainly in inner cities, the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia and the Mexican borderlands…. Hotez says it is a “disgrace” that diseases causing so much suffering remain at the bottom of the national health agenda. “If this were occurring among white mothers in the suburbs, you’d hear a tremendous outcry,” says Hotez, a microbiologist at George Washington University [USA Today].