The Hidden Costs Of Belly Fat

I talk a lot about what that extra helping of hot fudge will do to your health. But has anybody ever told you what it might do to your wealth?

Some new research has come across my desk showing it’s not only your waistline that’s affected by your weight.

When you’re too heavy, your wallet can actually lighten up. You won’t get hired as easily, you won’t get promoted as steadily and you won’t make as much money.

Women are hit especially hard. Case in point: A recent study done at George Washington University found that weight made the difference between making more money and making less. The researchers looked at a random sample of over 12,000 people. They found that on average, per year:1

Group #1 made $40,000
Group #2 made $34,000

Group #1 had no more education, no more skills nor did they have better relationships with their co-workers and bosses. The only difference between Group #1 and Group #2 was the scale. The higher wage earners in Group #1 were leaner.

But all is not lost. There is something you can do to help give yourself a raise. I’ll talk about it a little bit later. But first, let me show you a little more about why the overweight make less.

Belly Fat Bias

It seems that bigotry toward the overweight is one of the last remaining forms of discrimination. In fact, studies have found that, in general overweight employees are assumed to be:

  • not self-disciplined
  • lazy
  • less conscientious
  • less competent
  • less productive
  • lacking in personal hygiene
  • sloppy
  • disagreeable
  • emotionally unstable
  • slower thinkers
  • poorer attendees
  • poorer role models

There’s a stigma that goes along with being overweight: You don’t take care of yourself, you don’t make good decisions. You’re lazy. Employers think, if you were ambitious, you wouldn’t let yourself get this way.

But the reality doesn’t live up to the stigma in the least. I combed the research and could not find a single study that found that being overweight correlates with laziness, a lack of conscientiousness, competency, personal hygiene, emotional stability, or any of the other attributes that employers assign to the overweight.

Bigger Waistlines = Smaller Bank Accounts

And yet, this isn’t the first study to find that being fat translates into thinner paychecks. In an earlier study, researchers at Middle Tennessee State University found that, on average, overweight or obese workers make as much as $1.25 less an hour, which could translate into $100,000 over the course of 40 years, before taxes.2

Another study found that overweight Americans accumulate only about half the assets of their counterparts who maintain a healthy weight. Ohio State University research scientists matched body mass index (BMI) and wealth data in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a multi-year sampling done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and found that for every one-point increase in BMI, net worth dropped by as much as $1,300.3

And it’s not just about pay. Being overweight can keep you from getting the job in the first place. There’s a large body of evidence from laboratory studies on hiring decisions, which shows that when faced with two equally qualified candidates – one at a healthy weight and one overweight – employers are more likely to hire the leaner applicants.4

My goodness, no wonder overweight Americans suffer depression more often than average!

Are You Ready For Some Good News?

Enjoy a healthy and wealthy life

I told you before there was a way to make more money, and here it is (you didn’t think I’d bombard you with solely bad news, do you?). The Ohio State research found that a drastic drop in weight corresponds to an increase in wealth. A baby boomer whose BMI drops from 27.5, the middle of the overweight category, to 21.7, the middle of the normal category, sees an increase in wealth of more than $4,000.

So, you may not be able to change the world’s perception of the overweight. But you can change your weight. Now here’s the really good news: You’ve taken one of the hardest first steps – you’ve made the decision to change your life, and you’re reading this blog post. I assume you’ve also read the Fat Loss Fast Start Program, yes? If not, make sure you put it at the top of your reading list. If you don’t have a copy, download it here.

And if you think that losing the weight is hopeless, think again. Dozens of RealDose customers thought they could never reach their goals weights, but they did. You can read their success stories here.

Do you have an accomplishment you’d like to tell other customers about? Even if you haven’t reached your goal weight yet? Did you take the stairs today instead of the elevator? Choose a healthy breakfast over a donut? Maybe you were able to fit into a pair of jeans you haven’t seen since the ’80s. Whatever the case, I want to hear about it! Post your own personal success story below. Or, write to me directly at

Steve Sisskind, M.D.

Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.

As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.

Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?

I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.

I invite you to connect with me by joining my free private community. I've helped thousands of people and I know I can help you too!

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1. Dor A, Ferguson C, Tan E, Divine L, Palmer J. Research report: gender and race wage gaps attributable to obesity. Washington, DC: George Washington University, School of Public Health and Health Services, Department of Health Policy; November 17, 2011.

2. Baum CL 2nd, Ford WF. The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study. Health Econ. 2004;13(9):885-899. PMID: 15362180.

3. Zagorsky JL. Health and wealth: the late-20th century obesity epidemic in the U.S. Econ Hum Biol. 2005;3(2):296-313. PMID: 15941679.

4. Giel KE, Thiel A, Teufel M, Mayer J, Zipfel S. Weight bias in work settings: a qualitative review. Obes Facts. 2010;3(1):33-40. PMID: 20215793.

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  1. Belly fat is directly correlated with diet. Try this.. reduce carbs and portion size for a month!! You’ll see results… then keep it up.

  2. It’s no surprise to me that fat people don’t get paid or hired enough. You know what they say, “If you’re old, fat or ugly, don’t bother turning up for the interview.”

  3. Perhaps one is poorer if overweight because of paying for medical bills and surgery for worn out joints etc due to stress and extra weight affecting joints, heart lungs and liver and in fact every part of our bodies.

  4. Belly fat is directly correlated with diet. Try this.. reduce carbs and portion size for a month!! You’ll see results… then keep it up.

  5. Doctor Sisskind I am 37 years old and have been “chunky” my whole life currently I weigh 315 pounds. No matter what I do I can not seem to loose the weight. I try doing exercise which I do love doing but I have epilepsy and sometimes exercising triggers the seizures. I try dieting. I have tried the atkins diet, jenny craig, jillian Michaels, even richard simmons nothing seems to take it off and it all sits in my tummy. My legs are slim because I walk often, my arms are toned because I lift weights when walking, but nothing works for my stomach. Any ideas?

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Roxanne,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! Stretching and toning exercises such as Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi will work wonders for your core muscles. Personally, I love to swim as it works in both toning and as an aerobic exercise. a well balanced diet will get you to lose weight but you need to pair that with a physical activity to ensure that you tone as you lose. Any form of exercise will do in the early stages but you may need to increase the intensity of your training after a few months in order to continue toning. Hope this helps! Make it a healthy day!

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