While an economic crisis results in untold misery for countries and their people, a new study of health in Cuba has suggested there could be a silver lining during lean times.
Researchers appear to have implied that people can lose weight during a recession due to reduced eating and increased physical activity.
Their dramatic findings, published online in the British Medical Journal, were based on a study in Cuba, where the population suffered food and fuel shortages following the economic crisis of the early 1990s triggered by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This resulted in an average of 4kg to 5kg being shed by the people and subsequent rapid declines in deaths from diabetes and coronary heart disease.
The scientists from the University of Alcala in Madrid also discovered that when Cubans put the weight back on, cases of diabetes surged again.
The researchers concluded that the Cuban crisis could have lessons for Britain.
They suggested that an average weight loss of just 5kg across the UK could cut deaths from heart disease by a third while the mortality rate of type II diabetes, the form of the condition related to obesity, could also be halved.