Having a job may cause you to gain weight. Not having a job may also cause you to gain weight.
Some theories involving jobs, hunger, weight gain, and risk, are being circulated:
Having a job makes you fat. In one poll of visitors to the job-hunting site CareerBuilder, 44% of workers say they’ve gained weight in their current jobs. Many blame on-the-job stress as a prime reason they packed on the pounds, and nearly half say that they gained weight because they rarely leave their desks all day. The onslaught of cakes for colleagues’ birthdays and eating out for lunch also share some of the blame.
The bad economy makes you fat. Sales of potato chips, fatty snacks, and fast food have flourished during the recession, largely because during trying economic times, consumers seek out quick, seemingly cheap ways to fill their bellies. People (women especially) turn to snacks and fatty foods to relieve stress—which might be caused by a job, by the lack of a job, or by worries that you or someone you care about won’t have a job. So while it seems that having a job can make you fat (see above), not having a job can also make you fat.
Hungry people take bigger financial risks. A study cited in the NY Times’ Economix blog holds that people who are hungry are more likely to take bigger financial risks than folks whose bellies aren’t rumbling:
Researchers put study subjects on different diets to affect their metabolic states, and then week after week gave them options to participate in different kinds of lotteries. Some of the lotteries were riskier than others, in terms of their expected and potential payouts. Generally speaking, when subjects were in hungrier states, they chose the riskier lottery options, and when they were full, they choose safer lotteries.
We hear all the time how fat we are as a country today: The latest round of federal dietary guidelines recommend big reductions in the amount of sodium, fat, and overall calories Americans take in daily. I’m not sure if the obesity epidemic means that people are hungry all of the time or full all of the time, but it’s clear that …
People are taking fewer financial risks now. The LA Times reports that the rich and the middle class alike are playing it safe nowadays, with tons of money sitting in basic savings accounts and money market mutual funds, both of which earn next to nothing:
Some large portion of the population that was comfortable in 2007 having, say 60% of their money in stocks, 30% in bonds and 10% in cash now has significantly lowered the amount allocated to stocks. Watching the market drop 50% in six months left a lot of people, particularly older folks, with a new attitude toward risk — as in, “I want to take a lot less of it.”
People are shying away from risk because they’re cautious and do not want to get burned again. You could say people are no longer hungry for risky investments—they’ve had their fill of them. In the long run, the consumer will regret making long-shot investments at least as much as someone will regret eating fast food every day. Which leads to two more theories. No links or facts or anything to back them up. These are just theories of mine:
Eating lots of unhealthy food makes you fat.
Taking on lots of unnecessary financial risk makes you poor.