Being overweight doesn't appear to be a hindrance for men in the workplace, but it may weigh down women's chances for advancement, U.S. researchers report in a study published in the British journal, Equal Opportunities International.
Researchers from Michigan State University focused on 1,000 bosses from top U.S. companies. Photos of these bosses were assessed by medical professionals and other experts who were able to accurately estimate body weight, news.scotsman.com reports.
The study found that up to 61 percent of the male bosses were overweight. In the general population, about 41 percent of U.S. males in this age group are considered overweight.
This was taken to indicate that overweight men are over-represented in high positions. But just 22 percent of female bosses were judged as being overweight, compared to 29 percent of females in the general population.
However, being obese — 30 or more pounds overweight — appeared to hurt both men and women in the workplace, the study found.
"The results suggest that while being obese limits the career opportunities of both women and men, being 'merely overweight' harms only female executives — and may actually benefit male executives," researcher Mark Roehling, an associate professor of human resource management at Michigan State.
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