want to be rich, don’t be fat

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal on January 16th titled “Want to be CEO? What’s your BMI?”.

Note: BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is used to measure if based on your height and body type if your weight is normal, obese, or morbidly obese.

The main talking points I felt the author focused on were:

  • there are negative stereotypes concerning people who are obese and these stereotypes may hinder someone from be viewed  as leadership material from employees and/or superiors.
  • corporate leaders are increasingly put on public display and if the look of the leader doesn’t match with the image of the company this can create problems for the company
  • people who are obese may not have the energy or stamina that is necessary to successfully run a business all day, everyday.
  • One of the people quoted in the article even said he couldn’t think of any of the current Fortune 500 CEOs who was obese.

After reading the article I started looking at pictures of the current Fortune 500 CEOs to see if the last point was true but I ran out of energy after CEO 137.

Maybe it was the cheeseburger, fries and soda I had for lunch that day? Who knows.

What I do know, but I can’t scientifically prove, is:

  • when it comes to first impressions, people who appear fit or healthy are initially treated better than those that appear morbidly obese.
  • based on the body types of the last twelve U.S. Presidents (this goes back to the 1940′s), the days of a William Howard Taft being elected President of the United States are slim in today’s photo centric world (at his peak he weighted over 350 pounds).

I also know the article only focused on the earning power of not being obese and didn’t address the spending side of obesity.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average retiree spends about 20% of their income on healthcare.

I can only conclude after looking at the many diseases obesity has been linked to (high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) that those who are obese will likely spend more on healthcare than those who are not obese.

So according to the Wall Street Journal, if you are a healthy to mildly obese person you are likely to make more money than those who are morbidly obese and according to my logic if obesity is linked to health problems and health problems cost money, the more obese you are the more money you will likely spend on healthcare.

I was always told the more money you have coming in and less money you have going out is how you improve your net worth.

Now where did I put that last slice of pizza?

How the earning, saving and spending of wealth affects various parts of our lives.


  1. Budget and the Beach says:

    That doesn’t surprise me at all. It may not be fair, but good looks play a part in how people are treated, and the success they might achieve because of it.

  2. Cat says:

    I think first impressions are really important. I can’t say that I stand by them, because I like to re-evaluate, but they make a difference.

    For instance, I work in IT. No one will look at my resume (when I say no one, I mean, I guess some people do because I’ve gotten a few jobs), because I have a degree in Animal Science. I think people throw it away instantly. Either that or I look terrible compared to the people who have and IT degree.

    But they don’t even know me! They don’t know that I’m a total nerd and I’m super focused and good at what I do. Oh well. It’s sad but true.

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