Latinos, Unemployment Rate & Obesity

by Victoria Cepeda

Seldom do I feel the urge to share information with anyone as quickly as I did today. I just read an article on the Wall Street Journal titled “Number of the Week: When Job Creation is Troubling” that you should know about.

As per the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, 36% of the U.S. Population is obese with 32% considered overweight. That study places the U.S. as the “fattest” country among developed nations. Furthermore, the study also seem to correlate the increase of unemployment rate, economy factors aside, to the fact that America’s population is becoming unhealthier and unfit limiting the jobs people are capable of performing i.e. physical labor etc. Another factor thrown in with this data is the fact that Americans are getting older with those aged 65 or older accounting for 28% of the population.

What role does obesity play in unemployment  rate?

- Based on the OECD’s research obesity affects the poorer and uneducated more often than those with a higher education and socio-economic level. This group tends to be more vulnerable to processing technology and are the highest recipients of U.S. government subsidies.

How does obesity translate into healthcare costs?

-  Obese people tend to consume more processed and sugary foods which leads to kidney disease.  Did you know that the number of workers required to work at dialysis center increased by 164% from 1991 to 2009? Therefore, employed individuals who have healthcare insurance represent a big tap for employers in dialysis expense alone.

How does obesity affect men?

- Obesity affects men regardless of educational or economic level

How does obesity affect women?

- Obesity affects poor and educated women 1.3 more times than women with a higher educational level. In fact, overall, obesity affects more women than men. African American women represent 17% of the of obese population.

How does obesity affect Latinos?

- 6% of Mexican-American women are obese compared to White non-Hispanic/non-African-American women.

- Within the age group of 3-17 years of age Hispanic boys, along with African-American girls, make  up 50% of the obese population.

Though I am not an economist nor a statician these numbers have shed light on what is becoming an ever increasing worry among our friends and family: Obesity, healthcare expense and unemployment data. Whether this study makes sense or not, I would let you be the judge but truth is that the Latino community is directly affected by all of these three factors.

We cannot control how many jobs are created or how much money is allocated to healthcare costs by employers but we can control the food we give our children. By keeping our kids healthy, active and on the right educational path we would prevent them from continuing to be statistics.

Number of the Week: When Job Creation Is Troubling
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/09/25/number-of-the-week-when-job-creation-is-troubling/

Obesity and the Economics of Prevention: Fit not Fat – United States Key Facts
http://www.oecd.org/document/57/0,3343,en_2649_33929_46038969_1_1_1_1,00.html

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