Report: High Gas Price Silver Lining: Slimmer Americans?

There may be some good news to come out the higher gas prices plaguing the U.S.: Slimmer waistlines, according to a Reuters report posted on

A study from Washington University in St. Louis titled "A Silver Lining? The Connection between Gas Prices and Obesity," found that an increase in gas prices of $1 per gallon would reduce U.S. obesity by 15 percent after five years.

The report was written by Charles Courtemanche for his doctoral dissertation in health economics.

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It found that that the 13 percent rise in U.S. obesity rates between 1979 and 2004 coincided with lower gas prices. Gas hit a low of less than $1.50 per gallon in 2000, and a record high of $3.22 in May of this year, the article offered as background.

Higher gasoline prices may help trim the fat by encouraging people to walk or cycle rather than drive, and may cut down on trips to restaurants, according to the study.