How Your Weight Affects Your Salary

July 22, 2013

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You can be the most experienced, qualified person for a job in your field. You may look great on paper, maybe even nailed the interview. But a seemingly unrelated physical factor may be standing in the way of your dream job—your weight.

Why? Thinner people have an edge in the job interview process.

A recent study published in the journal Obesity examined whether BMI was related to letter of recommendation quality and the number of admission offers applicants received after in-person interviews. Ninety-seven applicants reported height, weight, and information related to a psychology program at a large university. The results found higher BMI is associated with fewer offers of admission to graduate programs.

Although it may not be fair, the weight bias is prevalent throughout society, and it’s affecting your paycheck. We live in a society where thin is in, and a woman’s weight is scrutinized more harshly than a man’s. Although striving to look like a movie star is unrealistic and sometimes unhealthy, some perceive it as the average weight. Overweight women make $13,847 less than average and underweight women make $15,572 more, according to a University of Florida study.

Men, on the other hand, are surprisingly rewarded financially for being overweight until the point of obesity, according to the study. Once obese, men are also penalized by negative stereotypes.

The bottom line is if you want to climb the corporate ladder, you need to put your health first. Your weight affects your salary, but there is a silver lining: It’s something you can control. If a larger salary isn’t enough to convince you to lose weight, here are three other ways dropping a few pounds will make you happier in the office:

You will be more productive. Healthier employees are more productive. It’s hard to get through the workday when you’re feeling under the weather. When you take care of yourself, you are not sick as often, allowing you to put 100 percent into your work.

You will have more energy. Carrying around extra fat can drain your energy level. Think about it: It’s more weight you have to take up the stairs, more weight and energy required to get ready in the morning, more weight to take on your commute. By the time you get to the office, you can be sweating bullets. By losing weight and incorporating an exercise routine, you will have more energy to get through the 9-5 workday.

You will be less stressed. Living a healthy lifestyle can reduce stress. Multiple studies show exercise, which is an important part of a medical weight loss plan, is an excellent stress reliever because it triggers a relaxation response. Taking time each day to focus on your personal health can take your mind off the piles of emails and projects at the office.

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