There is a very serious and real link between poverty and obesity in the US. We begin with some general facts. From 2011 to 2012, 34.9 percent of US adults were obese. The Census Bureau considers poverty an annual income of less than $11,720 for an individual and $23,492 for a family of four. In 2010, 15.1 percent of Americans, or 46 million people, lived in poverty.

Where’s the link between poverty and obesity? Between 1986 and 2002, adults in the lowest income and education groups had consistently higher BMI (body mass index) than did adults in highest income and education groups. US counties with poverty rates higher than 35 percent have obesity rates 145 percent greater than those in wealthier US counties. There are several possible contributing factors. People living in poverty are less able to afford a gym membership—and there are fewer parks and athletic facilities available to those living in poorer areas. Also, violent areas overlap with poor areas, preventing people from being active outside.

There are staggering costs associated with the obesity epidemic in America. Obesity-related chronic disease accounts for 70 percent of US health expenses, costing $190 billion in annual medical costs. To learn more details, take a look at the infographic below.