Though two-thirds of US adults are now considered overweight or obese, nearly 60% of Americans would rather reduce their risk of identity theft by 20% than lose 20 pounds, according to a survey from Ipsos Public Affairs and ID Analytics.
The study also found that Americans are more concerned about their Social Security number (SSN) being stolen than other items that could potentially contain more personal information. When given three survey choices (purse/wallet, laptop or SSN), three in five Americans identified their SSN as the personal item they would be most concerned about being stolen if someone were to break into their home.
Only 9% of adults choose their laptops.
Age and gender differences:
- The only exception to the safety versus weight trend are seniors (ages 55+), who are almost as likely to select losing 20 pounds as they are to select reducing their risk of identity theft by 20%.
- Women are more likely than men to be most concerned about their SSN being stolen (63% vs. 54%) over the other provided options.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, 66% of Americans are overweight or obese and may be at heightened risk of resulting health problems. Despite this, many do not view losing weight as important as protecting their identity.
“People say, ‘you can’t be too rich or too thin,’ but when Americans chose safety, they did so overwhelmingly,” said Larry McIntosh, CMO of ID Analytics. “The survey underscores how seriously Americans take identity theft and the use of their personal information.”
Related research from Javelin found that identity fraud in the US is declining, while 2008 research from Mintel revealed that concerns about identity theft and fraud are rising among Americans.
About the survey: The telephone survey, conducted in April 2009 by Ipsos and ID Analytics, used a nationally representative sample of 1,000 randomly selected Americans ages 18+.