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10 extra pounds or $10,000 more debt - what would you choose?

In what could be a sign that Americans have begun to take the debt crisis seriously, 78 per cent polled said they would rather put on 10 pounds than go an additional $10,000 in the red.

It's just one of the results of a new study, commissioned by Reader's Digest and Yahoo Health, that stands in contrast to research published by Fitness Magazine, in which 51 per cent of women said they would rather give up sex than gain weight.

That's good news for those who think you should be able to have their cake and canoodle, too. But the scales tipped in the wrong direction for 46 per cent of respondents of the latest survey who, when asked if they would rather gain 50 pounds or owe an additional $10,000, chose to put themselves in the obese range.

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Still, clearly size weighs on people's minds. Just over half of those surveyed said that they wanted to lose weight to feel more attractive, while 41 per cent said "seeing a really bad picture of myself" was the prime motivating factor for slimming down. Looks like sticking your overdue credit-card balance on the fridge door may not be an effective weight-loss tool quite yet.

The online study was commissioned as part of the launch of Reader's Digest new self-help book, The Digest Diet, written by the editor-in-chief of the magazine's American edition, Liz Vaccariello.

Using the techniques and menu plans in the book, 12 people with different challenges and goals were able to lose at total of 151 pounds in three weeks, Reader's Digest reports. There was no word as to whether they experienced a similar shrinkage in their debt loads.

Which frightens you more – 10 extra pounds or $10,000 in debt?

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About the Author

Shelley Youngblut is the Western Editor of The Globe and Mail (and the mother of identical twins). The former editor of Calgary’s award-winning Swerve magazine, she is a veteran of ESPN the Magazine, and has commented on pop culture on ABC, CTV and CBC Radio. More

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