Women who are poor are much more likely to be obese, but men are not, US government researchers said on Tuesday in a report that contradicts some common perceptions.
They found income does not greatly affect whether a man is obese, but that education seems to affect both sexes.
“Among men, obesity prevalence is generally similar at all income levels, with a tendency to be slightly higher at higher income levels,” the team at the National Center for Health Statistics wrote.
Obesity is a growing problem for US policymakers. Two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, with 72 million US adults, or 26.7 percent, being obese, with a body mass index or BMI, of 30 or more.
Several studies have linked obesity with both income and education.
The NCHS researchers used data from a national study of 5,000 people that is done every year.
Of the obese adults, 41 percent live in prosperous homes, bringing in at least US$77,000 a year for a family of four, or 350 percent of poverty-level income.
They found 39 percent live in homes making between 130 percent and 350 percent of the poverty level, and 20 percent lived in poorer homes with incomes below 130 percent of the poverty level or US$29,000 for a family of four.
They found that 33 percent of men living in well-to-do households with income at 350 percent of the poverty level were obese, compared to 29 percent of men who lived below 130 percent of the poverty level.
However, income seems to affect a woman’s weight. The researchers found 29 percent of women in well-to-do homes were obese, but 42 percent of women living below poverty level were.
Education plays an important role. Just over 27 percent of men with a college degree were obese compared with 32 percent of those with less than a high school education, while 23 percent of women with a college degree were obese, compared to 42 percent of women with less than a high school education.
A second study found children and teens living in homes with college-educated adults were less likely to be obese, and found stronger associations between obesity and income.
Just under 12 percent of boys and girls living in prosperous homes were obese, compared to 21 percent of boys and 19 percent of girls in the poorest homes.
Body-mass index is the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters. A BMI of between 25 and 30 is overweight and a BMI of 30 or over is obese.
A person 165cm is classified as overweight at 68kg and obese at 82kg. A 1.8m tall person who weighs 95kg has a BMI of 30 and is obese.
Being overweight or obese raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and arthritis and a study published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed that adults with a BMI of 25 or more are likely to die than someone the same age who is slimmer.
THREAT OF SANCTIONS: China is not a democracy, but its government can still be pressured, especially by business and financial interests, US Senator Pat Toomey said US senators on Tuesday vowed to move quickly on a bill that threatens sanctions on Chinese officials seen as undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and voiced hope the measures would dissuade Beijing. The proposal, which would punish individuals who curb Hong Kong’s freedoms, came after Beijing last week put forward a controversial bill that would ban “treason” and other perceived offenses in the territory, which was rocked last year by major pro-democracy protests. US Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican coleading the bill with a Democrat, said that while China is not a democracy, its leadership is “certainly subject to political pressure.” “When business interests
DANGER ZONE? Trump threatened to move the Republican National Convention if mass gatherings are not allowed in North Carolina, where new cases hit a daily high US President Donald Trump on Monday honored the US’ war dead in back-to-back Memorial Day appearances colored by an epic struggle off the battlefield, against the novel coronavirus. Eager to demonstrate national revival from the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump doubled up on his public schedule while threatening to pull the US Republican National Convention out of Charlotte in August unless North Carolina’s Democratic governor gives a quick green light to the party’s plans to assemble en masse. The US death toll from the pandemic approached 100,000. North Carolina two days earlier reported its largest daily increase yet in COVID-19 cases. Trump first honored the
COSTA RICA Same-sex unions legalized The nation became the latest to legalize same-sex marriage early yesterday when a ruling from the Supreme Court went into effect, ending its ban. Couples scheduled ceremonies — mostly private due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some that would be broadcast — to celebrate their unions before judges and notaries after the ban was lifted at midnight. In August 2018, the court said that the nation’s ban was unconstitutional and gave the Legislative Assembly 18 months to correct it or it would happen automatically. The legislature did not act, so at midnight the law banning same-sex marriage
‘THE RIGHT CALL’: Being black in the US should not be a death sentence, the mayor of Minneapolis said, adding that George Floyd’s death was not justified and race was a factor Four Minneapolis police officers were fired on Tuesday over the death of an unarmed black man seen in a video lying face down in the street, gasping for air and groaning: “I can’t breathe,” while a white officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. Hours after the officers’ dismissals were announced, thousands of protesters filled the streets near the scene of Monday evening’s deadly incident in a boisterous, but peaceful rally. Many in the crowd wore facial coverings to protect against spread of COVID-19. However, the gathering took an unruly turn around dusk as police in riot gear fired tear gas