Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The average person’s weight is climbing as the world grows richer. This chapter investigates the relationship between wealth and weight. Cross-national macro data (1995–2005) analysis finds a small, positive, statistically significant relationship; a 10 percentage point increase in a country’s wealth is associated with an absolute body mass index (BMI) increase of 0.03 points (a 0.13% change). US micro data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1985–2012) shows a small, negative, statistically significant relationship: each extra pound of weight is associated with a loss of $226 of wealth, and one additional BMI point is associated with a wealth reduction of about $1,900 for the typical adult. A potential explanation for this seeming contradiction is that the macro data are heavily weighted toward poorer developing countries, which make up a majority of the world’s population, and the micro data represent the experiences of a rich developed country.

Keywords: weight, wealth, net worth, rich, poor, body mass index, BMI, health, obesity, income

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.