Is the Economy Making You Fat?

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As if unemployment alone weren’t bad enough, a new research paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that when people lose their jobs — or are at risk of losing their jobs — they tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and more fatty, salty, sugary junk foods like Cheetos and McDonald’s.

In data from phone surveys conducted on 350,000 Americans from 1990 to 2007, researchers found that a 1% increase in the local unemployment rate led to as much as a 4% decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption. As Steven Gandel wrote on TIME’s Curious Capitalist blog, that means that the rise in U.S. unemployment, from 4.4% in late 2006 to 9.8% recently, could have led to a 22% reduction in fruit and vegetable consumption over the same time period.

Read more at Curious Capitalist here.