Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Good News: The Broke Are Healthier!

According to Fortune the downturn in the economy has been a boon to our national health. This is an entertaining article, which begins with an observation about the downturn in the casket business due to "a virtual epidemic of people not dying."

In difficult economic times, it seems, people lead healthier lifestyles. Is it because we're all following the advice on the evening news and buying fresh produce and cooking at home instead of going out to a restaurant? Apparently not. At least not primarily.

Statistical analysis shows that lower incomes aren't the reason; strapped consumers apparently aren't getting fitter because they must bike to work and survive on oatmeal and turnips.

Instead, one reason seems to be extra free time. Having no job means more time to hit the gym or just go for a walk. Exercise leads to weight loss, and research shows that it correlates with less smoking (though which causes which isn't clear). Being unemployed or underemployed also means more time for sleep, which improves health.