By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s bad enough being out of work. Anyone who has spent time unemployed knows how it can hurt your self-esteem and even your relationships, never mind your bank account.

But it can get even worse when you step on the scale.

A series of studies are confirming what many researchers had long thought – unemployment can help make you fat.

The Washington Post points to several of them.

Consider McAllen, Texas where the unemployment rate stands at 10-percent, compared to the national rate of 6.3-percent. The obesity rate in that town is one of the highest in the country at 38-percent, according to Gallup’s Well-Being Index. And I can point to similar examples in almost every region of the nation.

But researchers say this is not a story about the unemployed being lazy.

Instead, they found clear trends of low education and high crime in areas with the highest jobless rates.

On the flip side that means areas with lower unemployment often have lower obesity levels.

Researchers frequently point to Washington, DC to make that case because it’s one of the healthiest areas in the country with 22-percent obesity. The unemployment rate there is only 5-percent. Massachusetts is not far behind.

Boston is frequently cited as one of the healthiest cities in the country.

But Gallup found an even better example on the Cape, listing the town of Barnastable among the ten least obese cities in the U.S.

The unemployment rate there is 5.4-percent, almost a full percentage point below the national average.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz



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