Obesity and class: the "hotness" factor
An additional view on the relationship among education, income, and weight:
"I am currently enrolled in an MBA program in a large city in the South. On the weekends, I drive 80 miles and work as a paramedic for 48 straight hours for an emergency medical service that covers a bunch of rural small towns. I am about 50 pounds over my ideal weight. In my classes and in my neighborhood, which is very "creative class," my weight is definitely irregular. In a b-school class of 50 or a full trendy neighborhood restaurant, there might be one other person who is more than 20 pounds overweight. In the more rural area where I work, however, I'm damn close to the median.
"A couple of thoughts:
"1. Very broadly, American culture trends to stereotype those who get good grades as unathletic nerds. Might be true in engineering, computer sciene and the natural sciences. But in the professional classes, the same people I went to school with who had the discipline to put in the study time necessary to get into the good law schools, med schools or grab the investment banking or management consulting jobs also had the willpower to put in the time at the gym. I'd bet that many current 22-year-olds would consider maintaining or obtaining "hotness" as as important as career success. D.C. is full of these types of successful grads of good schools.
"2. Car culture is terrible for public health. Again, I'm significantly overweight. Always trying new exercise and diet programs that never result in sustained weight loss. What has? Spent two months in London without car, relying on public transit and walking, no attempt at dieting or exercising. Weight loss: 22 lbs. Six weeks in NYC without car, relying on public transit and walking, no attempt... Weight loss: 19 lbs. D.C. also benefits from this.
"I had a friend from my paramedic job come visit me in the city a couple months back and bring his brother and a few of his brother's friends, who all work physically demanding construction jobs. The construction guys, who are all stocky but in various stages of growing beer guts, somehow got into a fight with this group of guys who were built like lumberjacks. It was a draw. I later found out that the lumberjack guys were all "Big 4" accountants - CPAs who somehow had better arms and fitness levels than those who actually used their bodies for a living."
More in the queue.