Health & Wealth: is weight loss success related to monetary savings in U.S. adults of low-income? Findings from a National Study

Kerem Shuval, Bob M. Fennis, Qing Li, Amir Grinstein, Meike Morren, Jeffrey Drope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Many individuals aspire to attain various goals in life, such as committing to a healthful diet to slim down or saving for retirement to enhance future welfare. While these behaviors (weight loss and saving) share the common denominator of self-regulation, it is unclear whether success in one domain is related to the other. Therefore, we examined the relationship between long term weight loss (LTWL) success and monetary savings among U.S. adults who at one point in life diverged from normal weight status. Methods: Data on 1994 adults with a maximum BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 and with an annual household income equal or less than 200% poverty level. Data were derived from a U.S. population-based study (NHANES). The independent variable was LTWL success (loss maintained for at least 1 year), which was operationalized as < 10% (reference group), 10.00-19.99%, and ≥ 20.00%. The dependent variable was monetary savings (e.g., 401 K), defined as a 3-category ordinal variable. We employed ordered logistic regression to estimate the relationship between LTWL success and increased odds for higher overall savings. Results: Multivariable analysis revealed that adjusting for income, education and other covariates, being in the highest LTWL category (≥20.00%) significantly reduced the likelihood of monetary savings in comparison to the reference group (OR = 0.55, 95%CI = 0.34-0.91). This relationship was not observed in the lower LTWL category (10.00-19.99%). Conclusions: Adults who in the past were overweight or obese and who presently exhibit high levels of LTWL, were markedly less successful when it came to their finances. This might stem from significant cognitive-affective resources exerted during the weight loss process coupled with a paucity of financial resources which impede financial decision making. This supposition, however, warrants future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbers12889-019-7711-3
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 21 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Monetary savings
  • Self-regulation
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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