Wealthy men increase their likelihood of being overweight with every extra dollar they make, a new Canadian study has claimed.
The study, led by Nathalie Dumas, a graduate student at the University of Montreal Department of Sociology, presented the finding at the annual conference of the Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS).
"Women aren't spared by this correlation, but results are ambiguous," says Dumas. "However, women from rich households are less likely to be obese than women of middle or lower income."
To reach the conclusion, Dumas used data from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). This provided access to information from some 7,000 adults aged 25 to 65.
After analysing the data, Dumas concluded that a socioeconomic hypothesis could only explain the link of obesity and income for women.
"Since the 1980s, the greatest increase in obesity levels has been among rich Canadian and Korean men," says Dumas. "We still can't explain why." According to Dumas, one possible explanation is dining out. "Canadians love restaurants. And people who regularly eat out have no control over what they eat. They also tend to eat more calories and consume larger amounts of alcohol."
Too many restaurant meals, combined with a decrease in physical activity, is another possibility.
"There are obviously various factors at play: we still haven't empirically proved them," says Dumas.