How poverty affects diet to shape the microbiota and chronic disease

Nature Reviews Immunology
April 2018 Vol 18 No 4

How poverty affects diet to shape the microbiota and chronic disease
Christy A. Harrison & Douglas Taren
p279 | doi:10.1038/nri.2017.121
In this Opinion article, the authors consider how poverty and diet can shape the microbiota and immune health. They highlight how this contributes to the greater levels of chronic disease that are experienced by low-income individuals in high-income societies.
Here, we discuss the link between nutrition, non-communicable chronic diseases and socio-economic standing, with a special focus on the microbiota. We provide a theoretical framework and several lines of evidence from both animal and human studies that support the idea that income inequality is an underlying factor for the maladaptive changes seen in the microbiota in certain populations. We propose that this contributes to the health disparities that are seen between lower-income and higher-income populations in high-income countries.