The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education recently released results from a national study that examines the association of financial status and body mass index (BMI). Published in the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning as a part of AFCPE’s special issue on health and finances, the study revealed a strong link between poor financial status and high BMI for both men and women.
The study examined the association between financial status and body weight for middle-aged and older men and women aged 51-64, with results showing that more men (80.3 percent) were overweight or obese than women (77 percent). However, the prevalence of obesity was higher for women than for men (46.3 vs. 39.2 percent), and obese women had significantly lower levels of income and net worth than those of normal weight and overweight women.
“When individuals consciously choose healthier options in their daily lives, they also tend to make better choices when it comes to making financial decisions,” said Yoon Lee, Ph.D., associate professor at Utah State University who conducted the research. “These findings reiterate the importance for financial educators, health educators, dietitians and policymakers to work together to help prevent and reduce the rate of high BMI.”
The association between income levels and BMI was more statistically significant in males than in females, showing that wealth is a significant influence on body weight for both men and women, while income is a more substantial influence on BMI for men than on women.
Other notable findings from the study include:
- Overweight men had greater levels of average household income ($74,066) and net worth ($189,162) than normal weight (normal BMI) and obese men.
- Obese women reported the lowest level of annual income ($56,548) and net worth ($115,403) than women of the other two BMI categories (normal and overweight).
- Women with a normal BMI had a higher level of formal education than overweight and obese women, whereas obese women had a lower level of education than overweight women.
- Obese men had the lowest levels of net worth, had more physical health problems, and were less educated than the men of the other two BMI categories.AFCPE ensures the highest integrity of the financial counseling profession by certifying, connecting and supporting diverse professionals. AFCPE’s Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning connects financial educators, counselors, coaches and planners with important scholarly research related to the financial decision making of individuals and families. The JFCP provides evidence-based ideas and information that enhance the skills of financial professionals to positively impact the financial well-being of individuals and families worldwide.
- “This research has important implications for the field of personal finance,” said Rebecca Wiggins, executive director of AFCPE. “By recognizing the connection between financial and physical health, financial professionals can provide a more holistic approach to help individuals and families achieve financial well-being.”
For more information about the study – as well as for more studies from the special issue on health and wellness, visit www.afcpe.org.