Posted by: Tony Carson | 12 November, 2009

Minimum wage & the BMI

The cold hard logic of obesity. Lesson#1: How the 40 year drop in the minimum wage helped cause obesity


Research has found that a $1 decrease in the real minimum wage is associated with a 0.06 increase in the Body Mass Index (BMI).

The real minimum wage in the US has declined by as much as half over 1968-2007.*

Real minimum wage decreases can account for 10% of the change in BMI since 1970.

Another interesting component of the study was that the BMI effect regarding the minimum wage were more pronounced among high income earners rather than among low income earners. The study’s authors speculate that this is because low income earners don’t eat nearly as much food outside the home.

*Minimum wage was—measured in 2007 dollars—$9.15 in 1968 and dropped to around $5.80 in 2007, so perhaps a few more raises are in order. If you’re wondering why a living wage went the way of the Princess Phone, just ask McDonald’s.


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