Higher numbers on the bathroom scale are resulting in lower numbers on paychecks, according to a new report by George Washington University researchers.
“… [I]n addition to taxing health, obesity significantly affects personal finances,” said Christine Ferguson, J.D., professor in the GW Department of Health Policy and a co-author of the report.
And, surprisingly, the report finds that women—thought to be more weight-conscious than men—are more greatly impacted by the extra pounds than are men.
GW Researchers used federal surveys from 2004 to 2008 to quantify obesity-attributable wage gaps and found the connection between obesity and reduced wages to be stronger among females than males. In 2004, wages among the obese were $8,666 less for females and $4,772 lower for males. In 2008, wages were $5,826 less for obese females, a 14.6% penalty over normal weight females, according to the press release.
Why? The report noted that wage disparities were greater for individuals, especially women, who held jobs “requiring a high degree of social interaction,” often meaning contact with customers such as retail, hospitality, and health care. Ferguson said this “reinforces how prevalent stigma is when it comes to weight-related health issues."
George Washington University (press release)
What's the strangest thing that has ever happened in your office? Share your story with us and it could be featured in an upcoming column!