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  1. ITV Report

UEA research claims link between obesity and Brexit voters

In the wake of the decision by the UK to leave the European Union, the University of East Anglia has carried out research to see if there is a link between obesity and the EU referendum vote.

Experts focused on England and found that a high proportion of Leave votes were associated with high proportions of obese adults.

Dr Peter Ormosi, a senior lecturer in competition economics, suggests obesity might be the measurable characteristic that could help understand the psychology of voters.

Other factors that may have affected the vote include: income, the variation of income, level of health in adults, level of education in adults and the economic activity of adults.

10%
Increase in obesity leads to 6% more voting to Leave

I saw a presentation that had an obesity map of the UK on one of its slides. Someone made a flippant comment about how much the map resembled the map of EU referendum results, and indeed it appeared that more obese areas were more likely to vote Leave. This of course got me to spend a little time looking at the referendum results and local area statistics.... Areas with high obesity levels were much more likely to vote Leave."

– Dr Peter Ormosi

Dr Ormosi found that a 10% increase in the number of obese people leads to a 6% increase in the number of Leave votes.

But the analysis did also find that areas with a higher percentage of healthy people were also more likely to vote Leave.

Dr Ormosi went on to say that it is unlikely that being overweight itself affects people's voting preferences, which is more likely driven by personality traits that characterise both Leave voters and obese adults.

Click here to read Dr Ormosi's blog on the research.

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