New Study Reveals Harsh Labor Market Penalties for the Obese During Economic Downturns

The alarming rise in obesity rates has not only been a health concern but also an economic issue affecting the US labor market. Rachel Inafuku’s newest publication in Heatlh Economics, titled “Only the fit survive recessions: Estimating labor market penalties for the obese over the business cycle,” sheds light on the impact of obesity on income and employment during economic fluctuations. With the adult obesity rate reaching 40%, Dr. Inafuku’s findings reveal that during economic downturns, obese workers face more significant income declines and higher unemployment rates compared to their healthy-weight counterparts. The effects are observed across both genders but are particularly pronounced among younger adults. The research underscores the urgency for a comprehensive approach to address the intersection of public health and economic well-being, emphasizing the need for targeted policies to support vulnerable segments of the workforce during challenging economic times.

UHERO congratulates Dr. Inafuku on publishing her job market paper and her incredible achievement in completing and solo authoring such a significant piece of work. We are thrilled to see the success of her doctoral research and eagerly look forward to witnessing the impact of her work on the academic landscape.

Inafuku, Rachel (2023). Only the fit survive recessions: Estimating labor market penalties for the obese over the business cycle. Health Economics.

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