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Wealthy is Unhealthy in More Ways Than One

Updated on June 5, 2012

The ‘city of sin’ conjures up an over abundance of mental images based on our definition of ‘sin’ in the first place, but after a recent trip back what surprised me most about Vegas was all of the things it lacked. Movies like Casino and The Hangover would have us believe that mob bosses are lurking around every slot machine, the best place to stash a dead body is a car trunk, and that Victoria Secret models are lounging around every pool. Okay, well maybe the first two are true. We didn’t do any gambling, so how would we know? But I can tell you about the hotel pools.

With places like the Wynne hotel advertising ‘toptional’ pool side lounging, we saw a lot of flesh, just not the kind you’re thinking. The only hot, sweaty, bodies you’ll find glistening from the lounge chairs of these Las Vegas pools are those of over-weight senior citizens with a few morbidly-obese, middle-aged bald men sprinkled in. A strong contrast from the bouncing blonde’s they advertise on your TV screen. As my husband and I sat around the pool last week one thing was apparent, America is getting fat. The rising statistics on obesity have been ringing in our ears like a sounding gong for years now. The last thing I want to do is to beat you over the head with another healthy dose of condemnation for the cheeseburger you ate yesterday. Or was that just me? The question is not whether or not we have an eating problem, we do. The question is, why?

I know we have too many processed foods, too many fast-food restaurants, and too many calories per meal in general, but maybe the biggest difference between Americans and our thinner neighbors is not just what’s in our pants, but more specifically, what is in our wallets.

“The more Americans make, the less they spend on groceries,” reports Forbes magazine. Also stating, “Today, we only spend an average 13.3% of our budgets on food--but 42% of that money is spent in restaurants.” Being wealthy is making us unhealthy.

The more money we have, the more money we can spend. Judging by the numbers, of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and not just the scale, we are spending a lot of it on food prepared outside of the home. Choosing a healthier restaurant and ordering a healthier meal won’t cut it either because at the end of the day “each additional meal or snack eaten away from home adds an average of 134 calories that day, compared with the same meals or snacks prepared at home. Holding all else constant, one additional meal away from home each week translates to roughly 2 extra pounds each year.” (

If you don’t want your ‘bottom-line’ to affect your ‘waist-line’ the solution is simple, stay home. If you really want to buy a meal, buy one for someone who needs it. You’ll feel better and look better too.

Below are a few charities working to fight hunger:

The World Food Program


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    • profile image

      Becky Fox 5 years ago

      Thanks for mentioning the less fortunate. As far as finding a good place to donate, ask around to the poor where the best food ministries are. They can tell you where the food is REALLY getting to the people it is intentended for.

    • Christy Stewart profile image

      Christy Stewart 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you Taleb. This issue is close to my heart, and my hips as well ;)

    • Christy Stewart profile image

      Christy Stewart 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      To kcsc6503: Yes! It does seem like more than 2 pounds and is! 2 pounds only applies to the people ordering "the same" meal at the restaurant that they would have eaten at home. In all likelyhood, most people are splurging for something they either couldn't or wouldn't make at home ;)

    • Christy Stewart profile image

      Christy Stewart 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Your comment reminds me of an episode if "Malcolm in the Middle" where the mom, Lois, makes her first healthy meal for her family. the oldest child, Reese cries out despairingly , "WHAT! But fat is the channel through which flavor travels!" We laugh because in part, this is true ;)

    • profile image

      Micah Leydorf 5 years ago

      Good points, Christy! Restaurants don't have any incentive at all to keep the calories and fat down (in fact, the opposite as most times fat is what adds the flavor). We're helping ourselves in more ways than one to eat at home or make a habit of carrying healthy snacks (and I love that synergy).

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 5 years ago

      You have described a critical issue in a nice way.

      I voted Useful.


    • kcsc6503 profile image

      kcsc6503 5 years ago from Rolesville, NC

      Just two pounds a YEAR? From what you have seen and what I have seen, it has to more than that. I agree with your entire statement. One of my biggest pet peeves is the waste of food, especially by those much more fortunate.