While our equality issues aren’t even close to resolved, we’d assume that either there aren’t that many left, or that they aren’t too serious. It turns out that that isn’t quite so. Racial and gender inequality weren’t even addressed in this most recent study, but there wasn’t even a need for that.
According to a British study from the University of Exeter Medical School, income is affected by women’s weight and men’s height. Even though other studies have previously shown this, this is one of the most accurate researches of its kind, albeit quite limited in its range.
The UK Biobank
In order to make sure that this study isn’t just observational, the team behind the study decided to prove a cause-effect relationship. For this, they looked at factors like genetic predisposition and ignored environmental factors like childhood nutrition, wealth, or depression.
By performing a meta-analysis of the data belonging to 119,669 British men and women aged 37 to 73, all of them registered in the UK Biobank (a large sample of people agreeing to have their lives studied for science), the team determined some major income differences.
Differences in income
Interestingly, the difference in oncome varied depending on two factors, each one for a different gender. The average difference in the annual incomes was of about $4,175 less for shorter men (2,940 pounds) and of about $2,684 less for overweight women (1,890 pounds).
While short men tended to be underpaid in comparison to taller men, the same could not be said about short and tall women. What mattered for women was whether they were overweight or not, something that did not seem for matter in men.
Since the study was based on genetic data, there really couldn’t be any factual reason given for the income differences. But the team did come up with some theories based on previous studies. And while’s it’s true that using genetics leaves less room for an observational bias, it also limits the study’s range.
One reason would be that people with higher BMIs tend to leave school earlier than those with thinner genes. Also, people with the heavy genes tend to work more in professions requiring less skill. Tall people, on the other hand, tended to earn higher degrees and work more professional jobs. They also seemed to often end up in leading positions, unlike shorter men and heavier women.
One of the biggest limitations of this study was the sample it used. All of the over 100,000 participants were white British men and women. However, the researchers are sure that their results would stand in other populations as well. Also, there was no data collected on ethnic groups and younger people.
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