Weighty and Wealthy: The Money-Obesity Association
the MPR take:
Does wealth influence your weight? Researchers from Monash University in Australia assessed data from a continuing nationally representative longitudinal survey of 7,682 households (13,969 individuals) collected from 2001–2011 to find out how money correlates to BMI in men and women. Women were more likely to experience greater year-on-year weight changes in BMI, especially positive changes, compared to men which could indicate that they are more reactive to policy or lifestyle changes. However, a large association was seen between socioeconomic disadvantage and obesity and a major improvement in finances in the past 12 months was linked to an increase in BMI by an average 0.9%, weight by 725g (1.6lb), and obesity by 2.1% points in women, but not men. The authors posit that the increase in BMI with financial improvement may be due to an increase in meals eaten outside of the home, which usually contain a greater number of calories vs. those prepared in the home.
Obesity, like many health conditions, is more prevalent among the socioeconomically disadvantaged. In our data, very poor women are three times more likely to be obese and five times more likely to be severely obese than rich women.