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Obesity tied to income levels

Fast food is fast and cheaper than buying healthier fare. So it makes sense that people with less money, aren't eating as well. And it has serious repercussions for your health. Obesity has long been linked to income level, where lower socioeconomic groups face a higher risk than more wealthy populations. A new study published in the social science and medicine journal illustrates just how strong the connection between obesity and economic status really is. Researchers from the University of Washington studied 8,800 people living in King County, Washington, in the greater Seattle area. The participants in the study were divided among 74 different zip codes. Some lived in disadvantaged areas while others resided in affluent communities. Results showed obesity levels reached as high as 30 percent in poorer neighborhoods, compared with just five percent in wealthy areas. Throughout the zip codes, as home values increased, obesity levels dropped. Each additional $100,000 in home value equaled a two percent decrease in obesity. Neighborhood location was a more powerful predictor of obesity levels than race or gender. Previous maps of the United States were not as detailed and showed little difference in obesity risk among the poorest and richest states. This new research finds that obesity does discriminate -- and those in areas of the lowest income, lowest education, and lowest property values suffer the most.

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