Higher Income Doesn't Guarantee a Healthy Lifestyle

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • According to a recent New York Times article, Qatar is a "land of big numbers." Some of those numbers refer to gross national product and natural gas reserves.  Some of those numbers refer to prevalence of chronic health conditions: obesity, diabetes.  Among the natives who live in Qatar, the rates of obesity and diabetes seem to relate to affluent stature.  Their oil-rich status has encouraged a sedentary lifestyle very unlike their very active and lean ancestors who roamed the desert.  In fact, here in the US we see obesity and diabetes among the very poor and the very rich, which means that money is not necessarily the obvious path to a healthier lifestyle.

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    In fact, if you look at the wealthy class (or even middle class individuals), the same dollars that buy you better health insurance and private school education, also buy you the latest in TVs, computers, electronic devices and the best offerings in fast food and processed food.  The country of Qatar, for example, currently ranks fifth globally in the number of people proportionately in its nation ages 20-79 with diabetes (total population is 1.6 million).  In terms of life habits and culture, if you leave someone's home without gorging - you insult them.  Even though three generations in a family can typically suffer with excess weight and diabetes, healthier lifestyle choices elude most.  As in the US, there are movements trying to educate people and promote healthier living, but so far, it is a slow and protracted process.


    I'd like to point out that many people assume that money solves problems.  We assume that if you're affluent, you are also more likely to have access to higher education and you easily have at your disposal the ability to buy more expensive healthy foods, belong to a gym or own exercise equipment, even consult with a nutritionist, personal trainer and other lifestyle experts.  One only has to observe Oprah, one of the richest women in the world, to know that conquering obesity is not just about "having enough money."  Obesity is a complicated disease with multiple causes, quite a complicated etiology.  For many, even education and the resources to "do better" does not solve the issue.  Long term weight loss can be extremely hard to maintain...even with dollars in the bank to help you.


    Do you think that more money in the bank would help you achieve sustained weight loss?


Published On: June 18, 2010