Waistline grows in sync with economy: Study

Written by Agencies | New York, December 31: | Updated: Dec 31 2007, 20:58pm hrs
An inevitable consequences of advanced and rich economy is a fatter population, says an health economist and co-author of a new book The Fattening America.

Though obesity has established itself in western industrial societies, the author Eric Finkelstein gives example of India and China where, he says, waistlines are growing rapidly along with their economies.

"Combine that with cheap, prevalent food, and the result is bound to be weight gain. We're seeing this now all over the world," he emphasizes in an interview with Newsweek.

But he disagrees from economist perspective that people are making worse choices.

"We're fatter, but that does not mean we are worse off.

We could do without the low-cost food or new technology, but most Americans would prefer not to. The reason is costs of being thin, in terms of what they would have to forgo, have just gotten so high that people are saying 'I'd rather be fat' than make the increasingly difficult sacrifices necessary to be thin.

He argues Americans spend more time on their "butts" at computer, in front of television screen, in the car than their parents and grandparents did and spend much less time in the kitchen making healthful meals or outdoors burning calories. And everywhere, they are tempted by growing array of cheap, high calorie, fat and sugar-laden treats.

The result: two-thirds of American adults are qualified as overweight or obese.

But choices that Americans make are deliberate and with knowledge that overweight puts them at risk, he said. The research suggests even with this knowledge, many people will still choose to be overweight.