Why Rich Women Don't Get Fat

Sorting weight by demographic group reveals complex and surprising patterns.
More

In many parts of the world, obesity has become a greater public-health crisis than hunger. Nearly every region has seen dramatic increases in obesity rates over the past few decades. The epidemic is especially prevalent in wealthier countries, though their poorest citizens tend to be the most affected. While this is by and large true in the U.S., sorting by demographic group reveals complex and surprising patterns. When it comes to how income affects weight—and how weight affects income—men and women generally experience inverse effects.


SOURCES: 1. World Health Organization. 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (data are for adults ages 20 and older). 3. CDC. 4. Roehling et al., “Weight Discrimination and the Glass Ceiling Effect Among Top US CEOs” (Equal Opportunities International, 2009). 5. Dor et al., “A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States” (George Washington University, Sept. 2010; funded by Allergan, then the manufacturer of the Lap-Band). 6. Gortmaker et al., “Social and Economic Consequences of Overweight in Adolescence and Young Adulthood” (New England Journal of Medicine, Sept. 1993); Crosnoe, “Gender, Obesity, and Education” (Sociology of Education, July 2007); Muennig et al., “Gender and the Burden of Disease Attributable to Obesity” (American Journal of Public Health, Sept. 2006).

Jump to comments
Presented by

Olga Khazan is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers health.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In