Here's how your height might be costing you money: Scientists find shorter men and larger women earn less

Lynsey Barber
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Shorter men have been found to earn less (Source: Getty)

It's not something you have control over, but it could be costing you money, as new research reveals how your height can affect how much you earn.

It certainly hasn't stopped many a successful men from reaching the top (many a world leader has been accused of having a Napoleon complex), but shorter men earn less and it's all about a three inch premium.

A man who is 5ft 7, for example, will earn £1,500 less than a man who is 5ft 10 each year, taking into account other factors such as education and diet, scientists at the University of Exeter have discovered.

"Although we knew there was a strong association, most people assumed that shorter height and higher BMI (Body Mass Index) were a consequence of poorer nutrition and chances in life," said professor Tim Frayling.

"Now we have shown that there is an effect in the other direction as well – shorter height and higher BMI can actually lead to lower income and other lifestyle measures."

The study also found that women who are heavier earn less, with each additional stone reducing earnings by £1,500 each year than their thinner counterparts.

Data from 120,000 people across the UK was analysed, including 400 variations in their genetics associated with height and 70 to do with BMI, in the study published in the British Medical Journal.

While the evidence suggests height has an affect on income, the cause has yet to be identified, however, a body image bias could be one potential reason for the disparity.

"This won’t apply in every case, many shorter men and overweight women are very successful, but science must now ask why we are seeing this pattern. Is this down to factors such as low self-esteem or depression, or is it more to do with discrimination? In a world where we are obsessed with body image, are employers biased? That would be bad both for the individuals involved and for society,” Frayling added.

Watch the scientists discuss the findings below.

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