Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Link Between Over-indebtedness And Obesity Identified

Date:
August 14, 2009
Source:
Universitaet Mainz
Summary:
Scientists in Germany have discovered a close correlation between over-indebtedness and obesity. According to a new study, over-indebted Germans are more likely to be overweight or obese than the population in general. The authors attribute this to the high cost of a healthy diet, lack of awareness of the availability of cheaper but nonetheless wholesome foods, but most particularly to the psychological and social stress experienced by over-indebted individuals.

Scientists at the University of Mainz have discovered a close correlation between over-indebtedness and obesity.

According to the report published in the journal BMC Public Health, over-indebted Germans are more likely to be overweight or obese than the population in general. The authors attribute this to the high cost of a healthy diet, lack of awareness of the availability of cheaper but nonetheless wholesome foods, but most particularly to the psychological and social stress experienced by over-indebted individuals. The result of this stress is that they tend to "comfort eat" and become less physically active.

Due to the design of the study -- a one-off survey -- it is not possible to demonstrate a link between cause and effect. Consequently, the researchers postulate that it may also be the case that obese individuals more frequently lose their jobs, and thus fall into the debit trap. After all, unemployment is the most common cause of over-indebtedness and the lack of ability to meet payments.

The research project was funded by the cluster of excellence “Corporate interdependence and social networks” of the Ministry for Science, Further Education Research and Culture of Rhineland-Palatinate. Professor Eva Münster and her team at the Institute of Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine evaluated data for a total of more than 9000 persons. Of the 949 over-indebted persons who completed the questionnaire sent out by the institute, 25% were obese. By way of comparison, only 11% of the 8318 subjects representing a cross-section of the general population in Germany who were questioned in a telephone survey conducted by the Robert Koch Institute in 2003 were obese.

"The current credit crunch will also impact on the health status of private households and could even exacerbate the problem", claims Professor Münster. Münster, a public health consultant, also points out that this must be considered in the light of a social problem and should not be allowed to result in stigmatisation of the persons affected.

Socio-economic status is more commonly defined in terms of income, education and occupational status. The influence of this aspect has already been extensively investigated and it has been found that it is linked with the health status of an individual. Over-indebtedness - a situation in which the level of debt is no longer manageable - is a factor that is not usually considered, although something like three to four million households in Germany alone are over-indebted. "Our survey has shown that there is an increased probability that a private individual who is over-indebted will be overweight, that is, clinically obese, irrespective of whether the other cited socio-economic factors apply."

According to the research team, indebtedness also influences factors that predispose to chronic illness, for example by limiting leisure activities and participation in social events. Debt can also have a negative effect on the quality of a person's diet. "Energy-dense foods such as sweets and fatty snacks are often less expensive compared to food with lower energy density such as fruit or vegetables." Münster also points out that over-indebtedness affects all members of a household, including children. In view of the results of the survey, she proposes a low price campaign to promote the sales of healthy foodstuffs. In addition, further studies, particularly long term studies, will be necessary in order to confirm the postulated correlation between cause and effect.

The over-indebtedness of private individuals is not just a financial and legal problem but, as has been shown here, it also impinges on social and health aspects. "Over-indebted persons and their families need targeted, group-specific counselling and help with regard to promotion of health and prevention. This is the responsibility of the public health care system, that is, the federal and state ministries and the communes, not forgetting the health insurers," says Münster.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitaet Mainz. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Munster et al. Over-indebtedness as a marker of socioeconomic status and its association with obesity: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 2009; 9 (1): 286 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-286

Cite This Page:

Universitaet Mainz. "Link Between Over-indebtedness And Obesity Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090811080751.htm>.
Universitaet Mainz. (2009, August 14). Link Between Over-indebtedness And Obesity Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090811080751.htm
Universitaet Mainz. "Link Between Over-indebtedness And Obesity Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090811080751.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — The CDC says a new case of Ebola has not been reported in Nigeria for more than 21 days, leading to hopes the outbreak might be nearing its end. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The newly appointed head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, outlines operations to tackle the virus. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The CDC has confirmed the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient is being treated at a Dallas hospital after traveling earlier this month from Liberia. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — In a clinical trial, breast cancer patients lived an average of 15 months longer when they received new drug Perjeta along with Herceptin. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins