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UC Davis study links obesity with lowest earnings
Date:5/11/2010

the past three decades, placing most full-time workers near the poverty line. It is also during those same three decades that we have seen the prevalence of obesity soar."

In gathering data to assess through instrumental variables, the team started with the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. This longitudinal, representative sample of people in the United States includes information on height and weight, which were used to calculate body mass index (BMI), in addition to demographics and earnings. The researchers isolated data collected in 2003, 2005 and 2007 from 6,312 full-time workers in over 40 states who were 20-to-65 years of age and identified themselves as heads of households. State-established minimum-wage data for those same three years was obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The results showed that people earning the lowest wages were more likely to have weights in the obese range, or BMIs of 30 or greater. People living in the southern United States where state minimum-wage levels are among the lowest were more likely to be obese than people in other regions.

Leigh noted that one limitation of the study is its sample. Those identifying themselves as household heads were 85 percent men and 90 percent Caucasian.

"Future research should address wage and obesity correlations among samples that include more African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and women," said Leigh. "Obesity is a complex problem that likely has multiple causes. The more we can pinpoint those causes for specific populations, the greater chances there are for reducing its impact."


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Contact: Karen Finney
karen.finney@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9064
University of California - Davis - Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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