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Upper-Echelon Career Women Are Thinner Than Their Less-Successful Counterparts, Study Finds

The good news: Successful women in the fields of business, law and medicine are the only social group that has lost weight over the last 15 years. The bad news: That weight loss is because they feel they must be thin to get ahead. Even worse: a new study confirms that overweight women are worse off than their thinner counterparts when it comes to others' assessment of their professional potential.

"Appearance is the most important attribute for women in our society," said Andrew Hill, a Leeds University professor of medical psychology, to the Sunday Times. "Valuing them only for their appearance is a way for me to subjugate them. There's no doubt that to be fat in our current society is a disadvantage, particularly if you are female."

An Australian study published last month asked volunteers to assess the leadership potential of six obese and six slim women. Even though the obese women had the same educational background and CVs as the thinner women, they scored worse across the board in their assessment. Earlier this year, we shared the troubling data that an attractive person will earn $230,000 more over his or her lifetime than an unattractive person.

Before we blame the men, consider Lisa Briggs' assertion that it's ladies' personalities that drive this troubling trend. Briggs, who is the founder of IntuitiveBody.com and an intuitive psychotherapist and overeating interventionist, says that the Type-A personalities most successful career women have can impel them to loop weight and diet into their perfectionist tendencies. "It is that feeling that we are never good enough," she told The Grindstone.

How can women navigate this treacherous landscape and reconcile success and health?

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(Photo credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

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