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How Money Stress Can Make You Fat

As if being in serious debt, or being "over-indebted" (defined as not being able to pay off debts in a reasonable time frame) wasn't bad enough, there is now evidence to show that it also leads to weight gain.

A new study in Germany shows that those who are in the red financially are 2.5 times more likely to be obese than their more solvent counterparts. The findings showed that highly calorific and nutrient-low foods were the food of choice for the indebted, leading to significant weight gain. The study also claims that consumption of such food was for comfort reasons, or because they were less costly than healthier alternatives of fruit and vegetables. However, I feel that once again, this research leads to a focus on the lack of education regarding nutrition and diet for those who are financially troubled. As the person who looks after our household diet, and who buys the groceries, I can't see how fruit and veg (unless organic) are more expensive than junk food. From personal experience, I would think quite the opposite. Yet, this study claims that "energy-dense food such as sweets or fatty snacks are often less expensive compared to food with lower energy density such as fruit or vegetables." It also suggested that those who were obese lessened their chance of finding employment, as companies seemed to favour the more slender when choosing their workforce. This, in turn, of course, makes it harder for heavier people to earn money.

The study concludes that when further investigations are being performed into socioeconomic status and health, they should include indebtedness in their analysis, in addition to the more traditional measures like education and income. Perhaps additionally it shows that further measures by governments and health boards are necessary to educate individuals as to the necessity of including fruit and vegetables in their diets, and to the potential long-term health and financial benefits of such changes.

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