A recent survey by the financial site Credit Karma found that 72% of Americans would rather stay at their current weight than gain 25-pounds and be completely out of debt. The findings are quite shocking considering Americans owe more now than ever, to the tune of $2.84 trillion in total debt.
Bethy Hardeman, a spokeswoman for Credit Karma, has a theory on why many would rather be saddled with debt than pack on a few extra pounds:
“One of the things you do every day is you look in the mirror. I don’t necessarily think you log into your bank account every day and see how much money you have. You’re not confronted with that every day. It’s kind of easy to ignore.”
The survey, which questioned 2,000 participants, also found that 43% of respondents felt their weight was more important than their debt, with men being more weight-conscious than women (49% vs. 38%).
More than 2,000 Americans took the online survey in June 2013. Hardeman says, on average, survey respondents had about $6,000 in credit card debt, $111,000 in mortgage debt, and more than $11,000 in automobile debt.
Results of the survey also showed that 43 percent of adults think their weight is more important than their debt. Not surprisingly, the importance of physical appearance differed among age groups. People between the ages 18-34 were more likely to worry about their looks than Americans over the age of 55.
Despite the findings, Credit Karma’s Bethy Hardeman told Marketplace that she thinks Americans should pay attention to both their debt and their waistline.
“For some people, it seems really daunting to go to they gym every day and eat healthy. It also seems really daunting to keep hacking away at you debt, but I don’t think that you have to choose between the two. Looks are fleeting, but they’re also really present and in front of us. Debt unfortunately sticks around.”
Check out Credit Karma’s Infographic on how Americans feel about debt below: