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The "Girth-Wealth" Gradient

About 9 percent of health-care costs are directly attributable to obesity, which led Dubner to wonder if we should assess a fat tax (on fat food, that is, not people) as a way of picking up the tab. One strong objection would be that such a tax would likely be extremely regressive: “[S]ickness, poverty, and obesity are spun together in a dense web of reciprocal causality,” writes Daniel Engber regarding what he calls the “girth-wealth” gradient. To sum it up: the poorer you are, the fatter you’re likely to be; and the fatter you get, the poorer you’re likely to become. So it may be that the obesity fight and income inequality are one and the same. [%comments]