Very interesting....I kinda feel like mabye they tend to care less about their own health in dire situations. Read for yourself and decide.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women who have difficulty putting food on the table every day are more likely than other women to be obese or gain weight over time, a new study shows.

Though the finding may seem paradoxical, a number of studies have linked so-called "food insecurity" to a higher risk of obesity. Researchers speculate that the link partially explains why obesity is more prevalent among lower-income Americans.

One theory is that people may overeat during times when food is less scarce, such as at the point in the month when Food Stamp assistance comes through. In addition, many high-calorie processed foods are relatively cheap, and low-income families may regularly opt for them over foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

In the new study, researchers at Tufts University in Boston found that women in food-insecure households were not only more likely than other women to be obese, but were also more prone to gain more excess weight.

Because the study looked at weight gain over time, it supports the theory that food insecurity contributes to obesity, said lead author Dr. Parke Wilde, an assistant professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts.

The findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, are based on data from an ongoing federal health survey. Between 1999 and 2002, nearly 9,700 men and women answered questions about their health, demographics and their family's level of food security.

Wilde and colleague Jerusha Peterman found that compared with women who reported no problems providing balanced meals, those who reported some level of hardship were 58 percent to 76 percent more likely to be obese.

The women reporting hardships were also more likely to gain at least 10 pounds over the next year; about one third did so, versus 20 percent of women in households with no difficulty putting food on the table.

There was some evidence of a link between food insecurity and heavier weight among men, but the findings weren't statistically significant.

This is in line with other studies on the issue, but the reason for the gender difference is not clear, Wilde told Reuters Health.

Some research suggests that the allocation of Food Stamps, which come once a month, makes it harder for recipients to budget for groceries. Wilde said it would be worthwhile to study whether allocating assistance twice a month could help alleviate food insecurity.

In addition, he said, nutrition education programs, such as the federal Expanded Food and Nutrition Education program, could focus more on teaching low-income families how to manage their resources and stabilize their food buying and consumption.