This week Rush Limbaugh continued his frequent attacks on the poor with a story that the government is keeping poor African Americans obese by giving them food stamps. The only problem?
Limbaugh is completely full of it:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: They destroy people’s life. You know-a, There is, There is a story — I didn’t have a chance to get to it — Thee Obesity! …in this country. There’s a story the-that today that most of the childhood obesity is minority, African-American, and this story links it to food stamps, which makes total sense. We geta, nearly aaaah, 40, 49 million Americans on food stamps, and they can buy whatever they want with it. The Democrat Party has made everybody they can think that they’re victims, which makes them entitled, which makes them feel like they’re owed something, because they’ve been victimized, in most part, by this evil country, and its evil past or whatever. Even the food stamp program — designed in compassion, designed to assist the starving, designed to assist our fellow citizens in need — is now contributing (I believe it, by the way) to a rampant epidemic of obesity in the minority community. There’s no question about it. Liberalism divides, damages, destroys. It does. There isn’t any real compassion in it. All there is is a phony message of compassion.
The Washington Times piece that Limbaugh cites is based on a ten year-old study by a New York college professor named Diane Gibson. Dr. Gibson freely admits at the end of her study that she did not control for food insecurity, which “complicates the interpretation of the FSP [Food Stamp Program] participation variables.” However, numerous other studies have concluded that there is no correlation at all between participation in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and an increase in obesity. On the contrary, several found that the SNAP program helps prevent obesity by providing healthier food options and reducing food insecurity. No less than the FDA found that
“Results from reviewed studies indicate that for most participants in the Food Stamp Program–children, nonelderly men, and the elderly–use of food stamp benefits does not result in an increase in either Body Mass Index (BMI) or the likelihood of being overweight or obese.”
Rush Limbaugh thinks poor people are fat, lazy, and not worthy of assistance. It stands to reason that he would pursue a narrative that supports his false claim that government assistance is actually harming them.
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