Gender and race differences in the impact of obesity on work and economic security in later life in the United States

Christine Himes, Syracuse University
Madonna Harrington Meyer, Syracuse University

The negative health consequences that accompany obesity are well known. Less well understood are the negative economic consequences that often accompany obesity. Because these economic impacts may have a cumulative impact over the life course, they may be particularly problematic as obese individuals age. We explore the impact of obesity on middle- to older-aged men and women in the U.S. paying attention to any race differences in the impact of obesity. Our analysis shows women who are considered obese are more likely to have a work limiting disability and to use more sick days when they are working than women who are not obese. These differences are present for men, but to a much smaller extent. These indications, coupled with the higher rates of obesity among women and the greater wage penalty women face, mean that women who are obese are likely to suffer greater economic harm in later life.

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Presented in Poster Session 4