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Obesity-based Discrimination on the Rise

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Obese Americans may struggle not just with weight and self-esteem issues, but also, lack of acceptance by society. Over the years, this lack of acceptance actually translates into pure discrimination, with many obese Americans reporting that they are frequently passed over for jobs and promotions, or left out of social circles.

According to a new poll by Harris Interactive/Health Day, it's not just a person's weight and medical health that may be affected by obesity. The excess weight also affects a person's employment prospects, his job life as well as social life.

Among the people who were categorized as “obese” or “morbidly obese,” 52% said that they have faced discrimination when they applied for a job. They also have been passed over for promotions.

Approximately 2/5th of these people said that they are also discriminated against socially. About 36% reported that they had faced discrimination when they entered theaters or restaurants, when managers told them that seats were not available.

What is even more disturbing to California discrimination lawyers, is that unlike the kind of discrimination that exists against, say, lesbian and heterosexual people, discrimination against the obese, seems to be fairly socially acceptable. The poll found that approximately 61% or a majority of the respondents did not find it offensive to make derogatory comments about a person's weight. Many Americans do not consider it strange that an employer would use a person's weight before making decisions about whether to hire the person for a particular job.

The survey also found that the number of people who reported stigmatization or discrimination because of their obesity, increased with their weight. 6% of people who were categorized as overweight reported being discriminated against, but among people who reported that they were obese, those numbers increased to 20%, and among people who reported that they were morbidly obese, the numbers increased to 34%.




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