Overweight women earn £3k less than their slimmer peers

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There has been rather a lot in the press recently about pay equality. You couldn’t really have missed all the BBC pay stuff that’s been in the press. 

By the way, I know Gary Lineker is super but is he really worth £1.75M a year (plus what Walkers and all the others pay him – sorry to all the Gary fans out there, I’ll stick to the topic).

Well, this talk about pay inequality got us to thinking about another form of pay equality which is equally inexplicable, but seems to have been swept under the carpet.

In 2016 Exeter University published a study that showed that a woman weighing 2 stone more than another woman would on average earn £3000 less than her ‘slimmer’ peer. The same study also showed than shorter men earned less than their taller peers.

Let’s just take a second to think about this finding. A woman who weighs 14 stone will on average earn £3000 less than the same woman weighing 12 stone. This is despite them being equal in every other way. I find that absolutely remarkable. It implies some underlying prejudice by employers against employing heavier woman (and shorter men).

The fact that this study wasn’t publicised more widely underlines the prejudice I’m reporting in this article. When news of a pay gap between men and women comes up it is all over the news and it grabs the agenda, and quite rightly so. There is no justification for it. When it comes to prejudice against overweight, or let’s use the word ‘fatter’ people, no one is interested. It smacks of the prejudice that all of us who have ever been overweight at some time will recognise.  There is a complete lack of empathy and its swept under the carpet with the message, why don’t they just try harder and exercise some self-discipline.

There is no place for prejudice of any kind. People should be selected for positions based on nothing other than their merits, not their colour, gender, age OR WEIGHT.

As things stand the only effective way for obese people to reduce their weight and sustain weight loss is through weight loss surgery. With the NHS doing fewer procedures each year, and with that trend set to continue, more people looking for a life changing surgical solution will need to find their surgery privately. If there is a positive to be taken from the Exeter research, it’s that the weight loss surgery patient might look forward to better earnings in the future.

Picture of Martyn Berrett

Martyn Berrett

Martyn is the former MD of Healthier Weight. Throughout his tenure he observed many bariatric procedures and took part in several research projects so has a unique perspective on all things weight loss.

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