Thanksgiving feasts loom across Canada this weekend, but here’s a small caution from a new report before reaching for a second helping of pumpkin pie.
A trio of Swedish academics say in a newly published paper that plumper workers face a “large” financial “penalty” for being overweight. How large? As much as 16 per cent lower average earnings compared to their thinner counterparts, according to their study.
The study looked at 150,000 Swedes through the 1980s and 1990s, and concluded heavier ones – those with a body-mass index of between 25 and 30 – ended up making 16 per cent less on average than those in the group of “normal weight.”
While it may be true that lower income earners tend to have diets richer in carbohydrates and sugars, which contribute to higher obesity rates, the academics controlled for that by only comparing brothers in their final sample, which was taken across a broad social and economic spectrum of Swedish families.
The authors say their methodology allowed them to isolate the effect of being overweight on a person’s – or rather Swedish male’s – average earnings.
Take Our PollBut overweight people aren’t discriminated against in the workplace, the report says. Rather, the road to a wider waistline and lower earnings starts in childhood.
The report suggested overweight children and teens are less likely to develop certain “non-cognitive” skills early on that could aid them in adulthood, like leadership traits and self-belief.
“Taken together, these results reinforce the importance of policy combating early-life obesity in order to reduce healthcare expenditures as well as poverty and inequalities later in life,” the report said.
So if you’re already over 18 it likely doesn’t matter if you indulge in that second helping after all.