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.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. 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.