Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lose weight, gain wealth?

You will have to check out this study in the journal Economics & Human Biology (go to the abstracts section on the right, then go to articles in press). I am even intrigued with the name of this journal, so I am taking a look.

The Ohio State press release says overweight Americans who lose a lot of weight also tend to build more wealth as they drop the pounds.

Jay Zagorsky, author of the study and a research scientist at Ohio State University's Center for Human Resource Research, says the "data in this study can't tell us whether a person's wealth affects obesity, or whether obesity affects wealth. However, it is more likely that weight influences wealth, states the press statement.

“The typical person who loses or gains a few pounds had almost no change in wealth, but those who lost or gained large amounts of weight had a more dramatic change,” Zagorsky says. Zagorsky emphasizes that participants in this study had to lose quite a bit of weight to show strong improvements in wealth.

White women who dropped their body mass index score (BMI) – a standard measure of obesity – by 10 points saw a wealth increase of $11,880. White men saw an increase of $12,720 for a similar drop, while black women increased wealth by $4,480.

He says that if weight does affect wealth, there is also the question of how it does so. One possible explanation would be that overweight and obese people are discriminated against in the workforce, and don't earn as much money as normal weight people. Women, particularly white women, may be held to particularly high standards for beauty, which could explain why they gained more wealth compared to men as they lost more weight.

The findings of this study certainly support what some have theorized before.

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