Income May Help Fuel Obesity, Study Finds

Income May Help Fuel Obesity, Study Finds (Forbes)

Higher-income Americans have rapidly packed on the pounds over the past three decades, new research released Monday claims. Researchers found that 26.8 percent of Americans whose families made $60,000 annually in 2001 and 2002 were obese, nearly a threefold increase since the early 1970s. In contrast, the percentage of obese individuals in lower-income families making $25,000 or less only rose from 22.5 percent to 32.5 percent during the same time period.

What’s going on here? “We don’t know,” said study co-author Dr. Jennifer G. Robinson, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa. “This is a very surprising finding. It simply makes it clear that the obesity epidemic is a very complex phenomenon.”

Uh huh. I can corroborate these results personally. My body fat definitely is higher since I passed the $60k threshold. I’m sure it’s merely coincidental that I’m older, too.

The study findings conflict with the common assumption that obesity is a much larger problem for the poor. But it’s not clear that the same factors blamed for obesity in the poor — including fast food and lack of access to healthy foods — affect higher incomes as well, the researchers said.

Certainly. It’s a well known scientific fact that comparing rates of growth and absolute percentages yield exactly the same results. And, it goes without saying that $60k in 1970 and 2000 represent identical data points.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Scott in CA says:

    The sad truth is that at $70,000, I can afford all the Big Macs I want…and now I don’t want any. Has anyone else noticed that they’re about 1/3 the size of the originals? Supposedly, they were patterned on the Bob’s Big Boy burger in central CA in the 1950s-1960s. I remember those burgers, and the Mac is nowhere near as big.