We know that being poor (in rich countries) makes you more likely to be obese. Previous evidence suggests that high body mass index (BMI) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are both linked to bad outcomes related to work and income. For example, people with high BMI are more likely to miss days at work and make less money than average. New research shows that the reverse is also true. If you are genetically at risk of being obese, then this can make you poorer. In a new study, researchers from Europe used data from almost half a million people who contributed to the biobank in the United Kingdom. They looked at the relationship between genetic markers for obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) and whether they were linked to household income, and other social factors, such as poverty level, the percentage of people living in overcrowded spaces, and education level. They found that a higher BMI (but not diabetes) was related to lower income and disconnection from society. These new findings may be due to a lower ability to work, as well as higher chances of missing work, injuries, and discrimination. All these factors may lead to poorer career opportunities and lower income. A lower income could in turn affect living standards, leading people to live in overcrowded places in areas without good schools or access to healthy food. These findings could lead to new ways to break the connection between BMI and poverty.
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