Is career success determined by your height and weight?
A recent study published in the £British Medical Journal found that how successful a person is can be dependent on their height and weight. From 120,000 Britons surveyed/studied, shorter men were seen as less successful than their taller colleagues. Meanwhile, women with a higher BMI also lost out professionally and financially.
While these factors are largely based on genetics, the importance of a person’s physical appearance has reached the point where people are looking for quick fixes, and in extreme cases are resorting to surgery. Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures with over 200,000 procedures in 2016, but in recent years, the non-surgical alternative fat freezing, known as CoolSculpting, has been growing in popularity. Some people have even resorted to height surgery in a bid to make themselves taller and boost their career prospects.
However, is it really necessary to resort to liposuction and height surgery to boost success, and is it really worth it?
Height has been linked to being smarter
A team of researchers at Edinburgh University found a correlation between height and IQ levels, after studying 6,815 unrelated people. Using data obtained from Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study, the team found a “significant genetic correlation” between IQ and height, and found that, on average, shorter people were slightly less intelligent than the taller people studied.
However, it’s important to note that this link could be down to simple biology — thyroid hormones, which stimulate growth, have an impact on neural development. Having more of these hormones causes you to grow taller, while also having an effect on the brain development, leading to a higher IQ.
Taller people are historically and statistically more successful
It’s no secret that height has played an important part in historical US elections. In the 30 presidential elections since 1900, the taller candidate has won 21 times. When Barack Obama ran against Mitt Romney in 2012, articles were written about how Romney may win, purely because of his extra ½ inch in height.
Similarly, more than half of the CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies are taller than the average man. As Malcolm Gladwell revealed in his book, Blink, CEO’s are on average six feet tall. He explained: “In the US population, about 14.5% of all men are six feet or over. Among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, that number is 58%.”
Not only does being tall help in the boardroom, being short could prevent you from making it in there in the first place. Less than 3% of CEOs are below 5 ft 7 in height.
It makes sense then that a 2004 study found a direct correlation between height and salary. Psychologist Timothy A. Judge from the University of Florida and researcher Daniel M. Cable from the University of North Carolina found that every inch of height amounts to a salary increase of around $789 per year.
Taller men and slimmer women earn more money on average
The study published in the British Medical Journal last year also found that both height and weight can have an impact on a person’s salary. Researchers from Exeter University found that for every 2.5 inches in height, a man’s annual income increased by almost £1,600. However, when a woman is genetically two stone heavier than another woman of the same height, she loses out on almost £3,000 annually.
Professor Timothy Frayling of Exeter University, who co-authored the paper, said: “This is the strongest evidence by far that there is a causal link from being a bit overweight as a woman and being a bit shorter as a man, to doing worse in life.”
Taller people live better lives on average
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index daily poll of the US population found that taller people live better lives on average. According to the poll, taller people evaluate their lives more favourably, and are more likely to report positive emotions than their shorter counterparts. They were also found to be less likely to report on negative experiences, such as sadness and physical pain.
However, taller people were also found more likely to experience stress and anger, with taller women more likely to worry. The findings that height has a direct influence on the quality of life could be explained by the positive association between height and education, income, and salary — which are all qualities of living a better life.