Have you ever wondered why some of your relatives were fat and others weren’t? Thanks to the results of an admittedly shallow survey, we now have the answer: It’s because they had the money to buy more food.
Psychology may have something to do with this finding as well, according to published research in a recent issue of Gastro-Monetary Science obtained by this blogger. Wealthy people who are particularly fat may put on weight to visibly demonstrate to others that they had the money to do it.
The report’s author relies on the general corpulence of William Boyce Thompson and Julius Kruttschnitt, Sr., arguably his family’s two wealthiest and influential ancestors, to provide all the proof necessary in support of this theory.
W.B. Thompson, who worked non-stop and once consumed two welsh rarebits before embarking on an overnight train to Boston, topped out at more than 300 pounds. Interestingly, his weight gain corresponded closely with his gain in wealth.
According to an article in the New York Times, the Magnate had successful surgery for an abdominal ailment in June 1921. It’s widely believed that died from complications brought on by liposuction.
Julius Kruttschnitt’s problem was that he was never home. The chairman of the executive board of the Union Pacific Railroad was forced to eat many meals in his private railroad car, which, given the temptation of railroad cuisine back in the day, made it difficult to enforce a diet.
Kruttschnitt encountered different problems when he returned home. His belly had grown so big that carpenters were asked to carve a section out of the dinner table so that he could reach his food. Thankfully he had long arms and relatively good eyesight.
Too much work and a lack of sleep may have contributed to Kruttschnitt’s weight gain. The railroad man, who frequently worked 18-hour days, believed that work was far more important than sleep.
The link between obesity and wealth appears to peak in the 1920s, according to the study’s author. Earlier relatives were forced to lead more active lifestyles, necessitated by the need to provide for themselves in hostile Western environments.
After the 1920s, widespread cigarette smoking reduced appetites, though in many cases there wasn’t a corresponding decrease in wealth accumulation.
For more information see “A Study of the Impact of Wealth on Corpulence in the Thompson-Kruttschnitt Line Going Back to Germany and Finland,” Journal of Gastro-Monetary Science, December 2014.