Obese women earn less money, Western University researchers have found.
According to new findings, the cost of obesity for Canadian women turns out to be about a four per cent reduction in hourly wages or 4.5 per cent less in annual salary, the study by researchers at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry found.
From 2010-11, obese women earned an average of $18.90 an hour or $37,972.26 a year, while non-obese women earned on average $22 an hour or $42,492.67 a year.
For obese men, there was no pay difference.
“It was surprising to see. There was absolutely no difference at all,” said Sisira Sarma, who led the research.
Sarma said the study suggests that society doesn’t care of a man is obese in the workplace.
Women aren’t as fortunate.
As reported by CBC, Sarma’s team drew on data from the National Population Health Survey between 2000 and 2011 for people aged 18 to 53.
To be classified as an obese woman, you have to have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Non-obese women were those with a BMI of 18.5 to 29.9.
The study didn’t pinpoint why obese women earn less than non-obese women, but Sarma suggests several factors could be at play.
He suspects some employers view obese women as less productive and thus less deserving of higher pay. Obese women also may have a tougher time winning promotions that bring higher salaries.
And obese women may receive fewer initial job offers, prompting them to settle for lower-paying jobs, Sarma said.
Lower incomes also could be a factor in obesity.
“Someone in a poorer family may not have access to a healthier lifestyle and healthy food,” he said.
The study found no difference in participation rates in the workforce between obese and non-obese women.