Obama and Michelle’s Projects Collide: Obesity’s Link to Unemployment

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A recent comparison of obesity and weight statistics with unemployment data is drawing some interesting connections — connections that basically necessitate a discussion of President Barack Obama influence on the economy, as well as first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign “Let’s Move!” and its influence on health and obesity. Looking at a combination of unemployment rates and health stats from Gallup, as well as a collection of numbers from The Washington Post, and the well-known data on the socioeconomic status plays on dietary options and habits, it’s clear that there’s a strong connection between the two. Republicans among us would probably say there’s an irony in Obama’s economic policy counteracting all of Mrs. Obama’s efforts. Democrats would probably say they’re working for a common goal: a healthy and fiscally sound American family.

Either way you lean, the link between the two is interesting. A Gallup poll linked poor health with unemployment, saying that those who are underemployed or out of a job reported considerably worse health. This meant a higher likelihood of obesity — and subsequently, diabetes — was seen in jobless or underemployed populations. Certain age groups appeared to fair worse than others, as 18 to 44 year olds showed a 30 percent higher likelihood for obesity.

On the Gallup physical health and well-being index, working classifications were ordered as you’d expect, with the highest score of 81.4 going to full-time workers, or those who worked part-time by choice. Part-time workers came next at 76.1 on the index, and unemployed but looking took 75.2, just above those simply not in the workforce, at 68.8 on the index. On top of that, those unemployed and underemployed were more likely to have asthma or high blood pressure.