The survey of 2,021 U.S. adults for Credit Karma, a personal finance company, found weight trumped debt for many U.S. adults this summer.
Ken Lin, Credit Karma's chief consumer advocate, said women were less likely to agree with the statement "How much I weigh is more important than how much debt I have," than men -- 38 percent versus 49 percent -- disputing a traditional stereotype about women and their weight.
However, the scales tipped when bankruptcy entered the equation. When asked to choose between bankruptcy and obesity, 62 percent said they would prefer to be obese, but free from all debt, but 38 percent said being their "ideal weight" was preferable, even if it meant dealing with bankruptcy.
The study found 64 percent said they thought about their physical appearance, more than their debt, but 68 percent of women said they thought more about appearance than debt, while 61 percent of men said they thought more about appearance than debt.
Lin said physical health was clearly important to Americans.
"Beginning 30 years ago, there was an educational push around nutrition and fitness, and our knowledge about those issues has come a long way," Lin said in a statement."
The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, occurred June 13-17. No margin of error was provided.