Obesity Pay Gap Doesn’t Affect Black Men and Women

December 20, 2011  |  


When we talk about the cost of obesity, it’s usually related to the burden weight-related issues can have on the healthcare system but obesity may be hitting overweight men and women’s wallets in another way—lower pay, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Unsurprisingly, overweight women are hit the hardest. According to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, in 2004, average annual incomes for obese women were $8,666 less than workers with a normal weight. For overweight men, the salary was $4,772 less. In 2008, the researchers found that obese women made an average of $5,826 (15%) less than normal-weight females.

What’s odd is that this pay gap only seems to effect obese individuals who are Hispanic or white. In both 2004 and 2008, black men who were obese earned more than normal-weight black men, and wages were similar for obese and normal-weight black women.

Perhaps this is part of the reason why overweight black women have a higher quality of life than white women, or it may prove that black women’s weight doesn’t mentally and emotionally hinder them from being able to perform on the job and earn the appropriate salary.

What do you think accounts for the fact that overweight black women don’t earn less? What about the fact that overweight black men earn more than normal-weight black men?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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