[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 6-Aug-2009
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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-203-192-2165
BioMed Central

No need to tighten your belt -- credit crunch will worsen obesity epidemic

Levels of debt have been associated with an increased risk of being fat. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Public Health blame the trend on the high price of healthy food, and a tendency for people worried by debt to comfort eat.

Eva Münster, from the University of Mainz, Germany, worked with a team of researchers to study more than 9000 people, finding that 25% of the 949 people in debt were medically obese, compared to only 11% of the remaining 8318 participants. She said, "The recent credit crunch will have health implications for private households. While income, education and occupational status are frequently used in definitions of socioeconomic status, levels of debt are not usually considered. We've shown that debt can be associated with the probability of being overweight or obese, independent of these factors".

The researchers explain that debt can affect a series of risk factors for chronic diseases, for example by limiting leisure time activities and participation in social events. The quality of an individual's diet can also be negatively affected. According to Münster, "A person's ability to pick and choose the food they eat often depends on the financial resources they have available. Energy-dense foods such as sweets or fatty snacks are often less expensive compared to food with lower energy density such as fruit or vegetables".

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Notes to Editors

1. Over-indebtedness as a marker of socioeconomic status and its association with obesity: a cross-sectional study
Eva Munster, Heiko Ruger, Elke Ochsmann, Stephan Letzel and Andre M Toschke
BMC Public Health (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/1889895126254575_article.pdf?random=131473
After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. BMC Public Health is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in the epidemiology of disease and the understanding of all aspects of public health. The journal has a special focus on the social determinants of health, the environmental, behavioral, and occupational correlates of health and disease, and the impact of health policies, practices and interventions on the community. BMC Public Health (ISSN 1471-2458) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Current Contents, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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