Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Rich,smart and overweight? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Rich,smart and overweight?
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: qpet-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 10 Feb 2003 14:43 PST
Expires: 12 Mar 2003 14:43 PST
Question ID: 159676
Is there any study/research out there that explores if there is a
relationship between money and/or education and exccess weight? Are
wealthy and/or well educated people in better or worse shape? (I am
looking for statistics and short analyzes)
Subject: Re: Rich,smart and overweight?
Answered By: kyrie26-ga on 10 Feb 2003 16:22 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello qpet-ga,

Thank you for your question. As expected, excess weight is usually
correlated with higher income, but a surprising pattern is also seen
where obesity exists especially among lower-income females. As for the
education and obesity, there is a general direct relationship. The
following links to articles and studies will give you more

Here are results of my research :



N C H S - 2002 Fact Sheet - New CDC Report Analyzes Patterns of Body
Weight in US Adults

"Men with incomes below the poverty level were somewhat less likely
than men in the highest income group to be overweight. In contrast,
women living below or just above the poverty level were more likely to
be overweight than women with higher incomes."


Body Weight Status of Adults: United States, 1997–98 Advance Data No.
330: Companion tables—unadjusted. INTERNET RELEASE ONLY

"Table 1. Percent of adults 18 years of age and over who were
overweight, by selected characteristics: United States, average
annual, 1997–98. [CRUDE (unadjusted) estimates, with age-adjusted
totals. Companion to Advance Data No. 330. INTERNET RELEASE ONLY]"

"Table 2. Percent distribution of body weight status for adults 18
years of age and over, by selected characteristics: United States,
average annual, 1997–98. [CRUDE (unadjusted) estimates, with
age-adjusted totals. Companion to Advance Data No. 330. INTERNET


Food Insecurity Puts Low-Income Women at Risk for Obesity

"Individuals with food insecurity might be expected to have reduced
food intake and thus less likely to be overweight, but new research
challenges that viewpoint. Using data from the 1994-1996 Continuing
Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII), Marilyn Townsend of the
University of California, Davis and her colleagues found that the
prevalence of obesity increased among women as their food insecurity


The University of Chicago Magazine June 2000, Research

"In their mathematically modeled world, the researchers found that the
rise in obesity can be viewed as an efficient outcome of economic and
personal decisions. Generally speaking, Philipson says, "people would
rather take higher-paying jobs and be obese than take lower-paying,
more physical jobs and be thin. If people could choose to be their
medically recommended weight without consequences, then they might
want to be that. But it isn't without consequences. It has an
economic-opportunity cost."

However, note the researchers, individuals in technologically advanced
countries are not likely to balloon unchecked. Modeling the
relationship between income and weight, they show how obesity tends to
fall as income rises in rich countries and rise as income rises in
poor countries. When food prices are low, Philipson explains, people
spend a smaller share of their income on food and tend to consume more
calories, but only up to a certain point--at which concerns for being
above their ideal weight kick in. By contrast, in poorer, less
developed countries where food prices are high, obesity becomes a
physical symbol of wealth."


Barrier Survey: Identifying The Obstacles To Activity And Healthy

"It is now estimated that approximately 58 million adults -- over a
third of the adult U.S. population -- are overweight or obese. What is
even more troubling is that these rates continue to go up, from 25
percent of American adults in 1980 to 33 percent today.

But these alarming obesity statistics are even worse for low-income
populations and especially poorer women. Research on minority women
finds that among Mexican American females aged 20-74, the age-adjusted
prevalence of overweight is 46 percent for low-income women compared
to 40 percent for those living above the poverty level. Similarly,
non-Hispanic women below the poverty line have obesity rates of 39
percent compared to rates of 25 percent above the poverty line.

Why do lower income Americans have a greater problem with obesity than
their higher income counterparts. To some extent, the weight-related
attitudes of lower-income adults, especially African-American and
Hispanic women, reveal a more "obesity tolerant" view. But public
health officials also surmise that resources play a very important
role in the extent to which lower-income Americans adopt health
messages about sensible eating and increasing physical activity
levels. Specifically these resources include things that higher income
Americans may take for granted such as places and time to exercise and
the availability of healthy foods at affordable prices."



A Growing Problem Race, Class and Obesity

"And why the prevalence of obesity among minority women? In the past,
researchers have focused on health differences between African
Americans and Caucasians using race as the major determinant. But as
the rate of obesity has skyrocketed in women of all races, scientists
began to realize that they had to look at other factors, such as
education and socioeconomic level, to determine the cause and develop
intervention plans."

"Recent research shows that social class measured by income and
education can be more powerful than genetics in predicting future
health problems, including obesity."

"While researchers have studied combinations of all of these factors,
statistics for the number of lower class, lower educational level
white women that are affected by obesity are hard to find. Despite the
recent flurry of published articles on obesity, Tim Hensley, a health
communications specialist with the CDC, said that not all of the
angles have been covered yet. The poor, uneducated white women seem to
be an ignored group when it comes to obesity research."

"Epel studies the correlation between stress and fat distribution
determined by the presence of growth hormone and has found that
individuals with the lowest levels of education have the lowest levels
of growth hormone making them more likely to gain weight."

""Being of low social status can put someone under chronic stress,"
she said. "People with less education tend to have jobs with a lot of
responsibility and less control." She explained that a head of a
company may experience a high level of job related stress but would
have more choices and control over the situation and that, in turn,
alleviates stress overall. A day laborer, however, has little control
over the stress of daily life."

"Epel said that the stress of life at low educational and
socioeconomic levels is a direct cause of obesity."

Life Lessons Studying Education's Effect on Health

"Education has been shown to be a powerful and unique predictor of
health outcomes - lower levels of education are associated with poor
health and higher levels of education are associated with better
health. Questions remain, however, about which aspects of education
may relate to health, the pathways or mechanisms through which
education would exert an effect on specific health outcomes, and
whether there may be other characteristics or factors that affect both
educational attainment and health outcomes."

"The rates at which excess body weight and obesity have increased
differ by level of educational attainment and gender. In general,
however, individuals with lower levels of education are more likely to
be overweight or obese than better-educated individuals."


Progress in Prevention : Body Mass Index

"Canadians with lower education levels are more likely to be
overweight than Canadians with higher levels of education."

[view link for stats]

+------------------------------------------------------------+ : RNews Capsules

Education level, BMI greater indicators of cardiovascular disease

[begin excerpt]

Race is not a risk factor for cardiovascular disease among Southern
rural women, according to a study by researchers at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Studying 1,110 white and black women in
three rural North Carolina counties, Drs.Susan Appel and Joanne
Harrell, both of the School of Nursing, and Shibing Deng of the School
of Public Health found that education level and body mass index (BMI)
were greater indicators of risk for cardiovascular disease than race.

"Our study tells us that race should be viewed as a risk marker, or a
variable that may be associated with a higher prevalence of a disease,
rather than a risk factor, a variable that is directly related to
morbidity and mortality," Appel said. "Previous research directly
connecting race with increased risk of cardiovascular disease usually
has not taken into account the socio-economic status of the

The results showed that the black women had significantly lower
education and income levels; higher body mass index; and greater
prevalence of hypertension, angina and diabetes than their white
counterparts. In analysis examining race, income and education, the
researchers found that education and race were significant predictors
of cardiovascular risk. When the study was adjusted for body mass
index, however, race was no longer a significant factor.

[end excerpt]


Obesity Education Initiative Electronic Textbook--Appendices

Table III.A.3.a: Prevalence of Overweight* in U.S. Adults, by
Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Education, 1988-1991



"In Canada, education level is strongly linked to risk factor
prevalence (33). Canadians with 11 years or less of education are more
likely to have at least one of the major risk factors for CVD than men
with more than 11 years of education (76% versus 59%). The prevalence
of all risk factors surveyed in the Canadian Provincial Heart Health
Surveys is higher among less educated Canadians than among their more
educated counterparts. In particular, smoking and a sedentary
lifestyle are more prevalent in Canadians with less formal education."


Google search terms :

correlation wealth obesity OR "excess weight" OR overweight

link OR correlation wealth OR income obesity OR "excess weight" OR

link OR correlation education level obesity OR "excess weight" OR

link OR correlation "education level" obesity OR "excess weight" OR

link OR correlation "education level" BMI OR "body mass index"

link OR correlation OR relationship "education level" BMI OR "body
mass index"

I hope this information has been helpful. If anything is unclear,
please do not hesitate to post a Request For Clarification and I will
be glad to assist. Thank you for using Google Answers!


qpet-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Very good answer!

Subject: Re: Rich,smart and overweight?
From: tomek-ga on 26 Mar 2003 13:22 PST
I agree. if i was rich i would not eat in mcdonalds.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy