Obesity and its relation to employment income: Does the bias in self-reported BMI matter?


  • Thomas Alexander Perks Department of Sociology, University of Lethbridge




body mass index, bias, income attainment, measured and self-reported, correction factors


This study explores what difference, if any, the bias in self-reported body mass index (BMI) has on our understanding of the relationship between body size and income attainment. To accomplish this, aggregated data from Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 of the Canada Health Measures Survey, in which information on both self-reported and measured BMI was collected, are used. Based on subsamples of female and male employees, OLS regression analyses contrasting the effect of self-reported and measured BMI on income show that for women, self-reported BMI leads to underestimates of a negative body size effect, whereas for men, self-reported BMI leads to overestimates of a positive body size effect. Additional analyses examining the appropriateness of correction factors to improve the accuracy of self-reported BMI effect estimates suggest correction factors do little to reduce these systematic errors.

Author Biography

Thomas Alexander Perks, Department of Sociology, University of Lethbridge

Assistant Professor Department of Sociology University of Lethbridge