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Education and income level linked to obesity in women, but not men

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Educated women from wealthy backgrounds are less likely to be obese than uneducated women in low income households, according to new research.

Among men, however, there’s an insignificant difference in obesity based on income and very little difference based on education, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows.

About one in three Americans, or 73 million, are obese – body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.  Obesity can cause several health problems, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Being overweight can also shorten life expectancy by six to seven years.

Epidemiologist Cynthia Ogden, from the National Center for Health Statistics in Atlanta, said:  ‘There is a relationship between obesity and income, but it’s not a simple story.’

‘When looking at these two measures of socioeconomic status — income and education — their impact is greater on women than men,’ she added.

The survey reveals that more than one in five women (23 percent) with a college degree are obese, compared with less than the 42 percent of women with less than a high school education.

President of the Obesity Society, Jennifer Lovejoy, said lower-income women may become obese due to environmental factors, including lack of physical exercise amenities and easy access to fast food.

You can read the full story on USA Today.

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