Does voting Conservative make you fat? Tory backers ‘more likely to be obese’, study finds… but having a right-wing doctor gives you a better chance of slimming down

Conservative voters are fatter and are more likely to be obese than Labour or Liberal Democrat supporters, a study claims.

Researchers looked at 4,000 individuals who voted during the 2019 general election and found those who supported the Tory party had ‘significantly’ higher body mass index (BMI) scores.

They were also up to 54 per cent more likely to be obese, making them vulnerable to a range of serious illnesses more likely to die young.

This remained the case even after the researchers adjusted their findings for age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation.

Experts say doctors could start asking patients how they vote, as this would allow them to assess their danger of suffering serious weight-related complications.

Tory voters have a BMI around one point higher on average than Labour or Lib Dem supporters, which could be the difference between a healthy and unhealthy weight

Professor Amanda Daley, of Loughborough University, said: ‘Health remains an important political issue and a top priority for voters.

‘In this nationally representative sample, voters for the Conservative Party had a higher BMI score and were more likely to be living with obesity than Labour and Liberal Democrats voters.

‘This finding is notable as obesity increases the risk of morbidity, dying prematurely and has substantial economic consequences for health care services across the world.

‘Given that almost 14 million people voted for the Conservatives in 2019, governments and public health agencies may benefit from focusing on the political affiliation of the public when developing obesity prevention and reduction strategies.’

While Tory voters are considerably more likely to be obese, there is no significant difference in the odds of obesity between Labour and Lib Dem voters.

Overall, Lib Dem supporters were found to be slimmest, as more of them had healthy BMI scores than either Tory or Labour voters.

Conservative voters are 32 per cent more likely to be in a higher BMI category than Labour Party voters, and 47 per cent more likely than Liberal Democrats Party voters, even after considering other factors.

Compared to left-wing voters, Tory sympathisers have a BMI around one point higher on average, which could be the difference between a healthy and unhealthy weight.

Previous research in the US has suggested that doctors with right-wing views are more likely to challenge patients about their weight, discuss the health implications and refer them for treatment if necessary.

Their study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, was based on data from individuals recruited randomly by the Ipsos KnowledgePanel.

It backs studies in the US which have repeatedly shown there are higher rates of people with obesity in areas with strong support for the Republican Party presidential candidate.

The researchers also looked at people who voted for ‘other’ parties but did not report their findings on them.