Overweight teens earn less when they grow up

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    Alice Johnson

    This study [PDF] shows that men who are obese aged 18 grow up to earn 16% less than their peers of a normal weight.

    Being obese can cost you as much as missing three years of college.

    We provide new evidence on the long-run labor market penalty of teenage overweight and obesity using unique and large-scale data on 150,000 male siblings from the Swedish military enlistment. Our empirical analysis provides four important results. First, we provide the first evidence of a large adult male labor market penalty for being overweight or obese as a teenager. Second, we replicate this result using data from the United States and the United Kingdom. Third, we note a strikingly strong within-family relationship between body size and cognitive skills/noncognitive skills. Fourth, a large part of the estimated body-size penalty reflects lower skill acquisition among overweight and obese teenagers. 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.

    • LUNDBORG, PETTER, PAUL NYSTEDT, and DAN-OLOF ROOTH. “Body Size, Skills, and Income: Evidence from 150,000 Teenage Siblings.”
    #242 Reply


    People that are irresponsible with their health are irresponsible in other aspects of their life? Shocking!

    #243 Reply

    Fahad R.

    Lack of medical knowledge can lead to ignorance, sometimes it i the Hormonal imbalance that can make people fat.

    #244 Reply


    Workplace discrimination at its finest.

    #245 Reply

    Robbie B.

    Wealth, health and education are all closely linked – breathtaking findings!

    #246 Reply

    William B.

    You people that are screaming “discrimination” don’t seem to understand that everything in your life is nothing other than a series of subconscious value judgments. As much as you want to THINK you are morally superior, you are judging other people based on their body language, body-type, skin color, clothes, car, house, and so on every second of every day. Even if you THINK that you would never give someone partiality based on these things or KNOW that it’s wrong – you’re going to do it anyway.

    You’re going to give someone who is more attractive, stands up tall, seems more confident, and has a nice suit on more respect, admiration, leeway, and trust than you are someone who is shorter, speaks less eloquently, and is overweight.

    This is the way you’re wired. If you think you don’t do this, you’re lying to yourself. If you want to tell me about that “one time” you’re lying to yourself. If you want to say, “I now I don’t do that” first of all, you’re terrible at self-diagnosis (all humans are) and you are LYING TO YOURSELF.

    Attractive people who take care of their bodies and work to become more affluent in social situations make more money, whether or not they actually know what they’re doing and there’s nothing you will ever be able to do to change it. Laws don’t change the subconscious perception and action.

    #247 Reply

    Nuska T.

    In Germany women earn in average 22% less than men. And you cannot reverse that by simply changing a diet.

    #248 Reply

    Holly W.

    People are just being rude. “People who are irresponsible with their health are irresponsible in other aspects of life, shocking”, “if someone doesn’t manage to take care of their own health how can you trust them with the responsibility of having a job done?” ARE YOU PEOPLE FOR REAL? Obesity correlated with a lower IQ? Where is that study? Don’t say it if you can’t back it with a peer evaluated article. What do you say to people who have legitimate problems? Bad genes? You are all just a bunch of arrogant twat waffles. Please, continue the culture of bullying and judging people based on their looks. It’s worked out so well for us.

    #249 Reply

    Henri S.

    They find a relationship between BMI and cognitive skills among young Swedish men. BMI 20 is associated with the best cognitive skills, with lower and higher BMI on average having receiving cognitive skills scores.

    #250 Reply

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    #481 Reply

    James N.

    I realised that not watching movies and TV shows that portray that is OK and fun that the characters are eating a huge amount of carbs, helped me. without the constant enforcement of the idea ”carbs are good”, I think about sugar and bread less than 10% than I used to.

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