Blog | Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More thoughts on obesity

Today's release of CDC statistics on diabetes (24 million Americans with the disease, another 57 million pre-diabetic) has inspired the usual hand-wringing about how obese and sedentary Americans have become. But a Slate article offers an interesting new twist on the discussion, suggesting that the increase in U.S. obesity correlates with increases in women's wages and decreases in the savings rate (and they have graphs to prove it). In sum, the idea is that over the last 20some years, women have been working more instead of cooking and spending all their money on unhealthy restaurant food. The silver lining, then, is that a recession might shrink American waistlines as well as wallets. Of course, the theory doesn't account for the fact that unhealthy, fattening food is often less expensive than healthy alternatives, so that eaters on a tight budget might actually be pushed further down the road to obesity and diabetes.