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Econ Hum Biol. 2016 Dec;23:10-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2016.06.002. Epub 2016 Jun 26.

The obesity penalty in the labor market using longitudinal Canadian data.

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University of Alberta, School of Public Health, 3-300 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, 11405-87 Ave, T6G1C9 Edmonton, AB, Canada. Electronic address:
School of Public Health, University of Alberta, 3-300 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, 11405-87 Ave, T6G1C9 Edmonton, AB, Canada.


A Canadian study of weight discrimination also known as the obesity wage-penalty. This paper adds to the limited Canadian literature while also introducing a causal model, which can be applied to future Canadian studies. A general working-class sample group is utilized with personal income, which removes many biases introduced in other studies. The evidence suggests that a 1-unit increase in lagged BMI is associated with a 0.7% decrease in personal for obese Canadian females. Similar to other studies, the male results are inconsistent. The evidence brought forward in this study can provide an effective financial incentive for health promotion among Canadians for law and policy makers. Beyond health reasons, these results can also be applied as empirical evidence of gender discrimination based on body image perception. The evidence suggests that male physique is not a contributing factor in income, but larger female physique is associated with lower personal income.


Canada; Discrimination; Instrumental variables; Obesity; Wage

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