Lose Weight Build Wealth

Looking for a good reason to lose some weight? New research reveals that overweight Americans who drop considerable weight tend to build wealth at the same time.


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“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,” states Jay Zagorsky, author of the study and a research scientist at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research.

The overall results indicate that a BMI increase of one unit was associated with an eight percent, or $1,300, reduction in wealth. Results, however, varied by ethnicity and gender.

The study, which is pending publication in the journal Economics and Human Biology, found that the link between weight loss and wealth gains was particularly strong among white women. Black women and white men also gained wealth as they lost weight but not to the same degree as white women. The wealth of Black men was basically unaffected by their weight.

Data from approximately 7,300 people participating in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) between 1985 and 2000 was used in the study. NLSY was primarily funded by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data doesn’t reveal whether a person’s wealth affects obesity or obesity affects wealth. Researchers are careful to point out that although the linkage is definitely there, it is impossible to say whether losing weight was the only reason for the wealth gain.


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