Unemployment Leads to Less Healthy Eating

[A] higher risk of unemployment is associated with reduced consumption of fruits and vegetables and increased consumption of “unhealthy” foods such as snacks and fast food. In addition to estimation of the average population effect, heterogeneous responses are also identified …. Among individuals predicted to be at highest risk of being unemployed, a one percentage point increase in the resident state’s unemployment rate is associated with a 2-8% reduction in the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Full NBER working paper on the business cycle of eating habits.

Comments (5)

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  1. Bruce says:

    Even if I believe this, how bad is a 5% reduction in the consumption of fruits and vegetables? Doesn’t seem like it’s the end of the world.

  2. Neil H. says:

    Here is an interesting anomaly. Michelle is out trying to promote healthy eating, while her husband is championing policies that prolong unemployment, which leads to less healthy eating.

    Right hand doesn’t appear to know what the left hand is doing.

  3. Tom H. says:

    Neil, are you saying that Obama is making us fat?

  4. Vicki says:

    I think this has to do with the price of food. I’ve seen previous posts here showing that that less healthy food is cheaper.

  5. Virginia says:

    I agree with Vicki. You would think that unemployment would leave more time for cooking health meals. One of the reasons I eat as much junk food as I do is that it’s always in the office, and when I go home, I’m too tired to cook.