Mexico's state-run oil company is reportedly offering more money to employees who meet new body standards.
Under a new collective bargaining contract with its union, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) is giving its workers a "health incentive" of $287 a year if they meet certain body mass index (BMI) thresholds and have a waist size under a specific circumference.
To qualify for the health bonus, Pemex employees are required to have a BMI of 25 or less, while having a maximum waist of 35 inches for men and 31 inches for women, according to Bloomberg. Workers who are overweight and decrease their weight by 10 percent annually will also get the bonus.
Doctors argue Pemex's policy could actually cause weight gain instead of weight loss because of the shame it might bring employees who can't meet the required thresholds.
“This is an uninformed policy,” said Dr. Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness, told Bloomberg. “It’s inconsistent with the science of what we know about body weight regulation and it’s tone-deaf to progress being made in societal perceptions around obesity. On top of all of that, we have very strong scientific data now that weight shaming causes more weight gain.”
Kahan said a better way to encourage wellness is to incentivize healthy behaviors such as healthy eating, giving rebates for trips to the gym and providing healthier snacks to employees.
“There are a lot of companies big and small that are moving forward on this in much better and much more productive ways,” he said.
Mexico's oil refineries have fallen 77 percent in the last two decades and Pemex has failed to meet output goals every year for the past decade. The company aims to increase its oil output to 2.7 million barrels a day by 2024 and will invest 58 billion pesos, or three billion dollars in its refineries this year, according to Bloomberg.
The "health bonus" is a 4.6 percent increase from the last union contract at Pemex.