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Mon Dec 05 18:34:50 SAST 2016

Slim chances for fatties

DAVE CHAMBERS | 2016-08-05 07:20:50.0
A new study shows that paternal health at the time of conception can have a big influence on offspring's health.

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When the chips are down, slim men become fattists.

Low blood sugar causes them to make unfair decisions involving more rotund people in the workplace, according to German research.

One of the scientists who did the study, Achim Peters of the University of Lübeck, said: "In the working world this bias towards the more rotund plays out in the fact they are less likely to be hired, are more often unemployed and are sometimes even paid less for the same job than leaner employees."

Peters' team asked 20 lean and 20 corpulent men to play three economic games - evaluating fairness, trust and risk - while their blood sugar levels were either normal or abnormally low.

Even when experiencing normal blood sugar levels, lean participants in the first game tended to make fewer fair proposals than chubbier ones.

In the trust game, lean men with low blood sugar placed more trust in others with the same physique as themselves.

Writing in the International Journal of Obesity, Peters said: "When relating these results to the working environment, the weight bias in economic decision-making may be relevant for employment disparities.

"One might, therefore, speculate that a lean personnel manager could prefer a lean job applicant and could offer him a higher salary, but that a corpulent personnel manager would not make a difference regarding body shape, in either hiring or salary decisions."

A British study in 2014 found that four in 10 overweight people were insulted or abused about their shape at least once a week.

James Stubbs, chairman of behaviour change and weight management at the University of Derby, said: "We need to think more about how we treat people who struggle with weight and we need to be more aware of how discrimination can impact on people's feelings."

The survey of 2500 people found personal criticism does not motivate people to lose weight. Instead, 47% on the receiving end felt ashamed, 41% felt depressed and 30% useless.

A study last year from University College London found weight discrimination accounts for about 40% of the harmful psychological effects associated with obesity.

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