Feature

Health scare of the week: The recession and obesity

The economic recession may worsen the country’s growing obesity problem because people with weight problems often use food to distract or medicate themselves in times of stress.

People who struggle with their weight are likely to lose the battle if they have a high-stress job or chronic financial problems, says a new study. In analyzing the health records of 1,355 men and women over a decade, Harvard Medical School researchers found that people who were already overweight really packed on the pounds if they rated their jobs as highly stressful or said they had trouble paying their bills. “The stress effect didn’t appear to impact normal-weight people,” researcher Jason Block tells USA Today. People with weight problems often use food to distract or medicate themselves in times of stress, he said, which would suggest that the current economic recession may worsen the country’s growing obesity problem.

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