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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 109, Issue 5–6, pp 873–881 | Cite as

The effect of body weight on employment among Canadian women: evidence from Canadian data

  • Nazmi SariEmail author
  • Beliz Acan Osman
Quantitative Research

Abstract

Objectives

This paper examines the impact of obesity on labour market participation among Canadian women by using various Canadian population health surveys.

Methods

We estimate the impact of obesity on labour market participation using probit and bivariate probit regression models. To correct for a potential endogenous relationship between obesity and labour market participation, we also use instrumental variables in the bivariate probit regression context.

Results

The results suggest that the probability of employment has negative association with the body weight of women. This effect is statistically significant and has substantial impact on employment. The results show that obesity decreases employment probability by about 25 percentage points for women.

Conclusion

In addition to well-known negative health consequences, obesity also has additional negative effect on employment. This negative impact on employment is comparable to the impacts of mental health or illicit drug use on employment. Public health policies aimed at reducing obesity would generate additional benefits to society. Our results also provide additional evidence for lawmakers to amend the labour laws in Canada in order to acknowledge and prohibit hiring practices that discriminate against individuals with high body weight.

Keywords

Obesity Body weight Employment Probit/biprobit regression Health survey 

Résumé

Objectifs

Examiner les incidences de l’obésité sur la participation au marché du travail des femmes canadiennes à l’aide de diverses enquêtes canadiennes sur la santé des populations.

Méthode

Nous estimons les incidences de l’obésité sur la participation au marché du travail à l’aide des modèles de régression probit et probit bivarié. Pour corriger une possible relation endogène entre l’obésité et la participation au marché du travail, nous utilisons aussi des variables instrumentales dans le contexte de la régression probit bivariée.

Résultats

Les résultats indiquent que la probabilité d’emploi est négativement associée au poids des femmes. Cet effet est significatif et a des incidences considérables sur l’emploi. Selon les résultats obtenus, l’obésité réduit la probabilité d’emploi d’environ 25 points de pourcentage chez les femmes.

Conclusion

Outre ses conséquences négatives bien connues sur la santé, l’obésité a un effet néfaste sur l’emploi. Cet effet sur l’emploi est comparable à celui des problèmes de santé mentale ou de la consommation de drogue. Les politiques de santé publique qui visent à réduire l’obésité présenteraient donc des avantages supplémentaires pour la société. Nos résultats offrent aussi aux législateurs de nouvelles données à l’appui de la modification de la législation ouvrière au Canada pour reconnaître et interdire les pratiques discriminatoires envers les personnes de poids élevé.

Mots-clés

Obésité Poids du corps Emploi Régression probit/biprobit Enquêtes de santé 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Over the course of my (NS) academic career, many individuals have inspired me by their tremendous energy, inspiration, dedication, and belief for social justice and equity. Among many, I would like to especially thank and acknowledge Mr. and Mrs. Ismet and Nursen Metin for their lifelong dedication and hard work as well as their strong belief in public service to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Saskatchewan Health Quality CouncilSaskatoonCanada

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