The Obesity Bias – Discrimination Against Overweight People
Despite the popular adage, many books do face judgment by their covers, and overweight and large individuals often have to endure deep-seeded animosity and negative stereotypes that can result in bullying at school, workplace discrimination and low self-esteem.
You probably know that obesity is bad for your health, but it’s also very bad for your life.
Bias At School
No one wants to be known as “the fat kid” at school. Overweight children face a slew of challenges as they grow up that have nothing to do with the physical difficulty of performing sports or the many illnesses that accompany obesity such as asthma, sleep apnea and diabetes.
Overweight children are more like to face bullying and isolation among their peers. Even though school officials continue to crack down on bullying and preach acceptance, children and teens can still be incredibly cruel. Often, overweight students are targeted and face open hostility and social rejection.
It’s no surprise that research shows that overweight kids and teens tend to have lower self-esteem, underperform academically, and rate themselves less intelligent then their slimmer peers.
In other words, starting out life overweight can be a crushing blow to a child’s self worth that can have lifelong repercussions.
Bias At Work
As if surviving high school as an overweight teen weren’t difficult enough, research shows that the workplace can be just as precarious for overweight adults.
Studies have found hiring biases against overweight workers. Often, obese people are associated with words like “sloppy”, “dumb”, “slow”, “lazy” and “undisciplined.” Even if these perceptions are not true of a specific person, the unconscious bias of coworkers and employers can negatively affect an overweight person’s opportunities for promotions and career growth.
Obesity really can hurt your bottom line. Overweight workers tend to earn less than their average-weight co-workers, even when they are doing the same job. They may also face workplace harassment and ridicule.
The bias against fat is widespread throughout society, and the net result is that many overweight and obese individuals suffer from ongoing discrimination and stigmatization in almost every sector of their lives. Social attitudes have a strong negative impact on the quality of life for these individuals. Depression, self-blame and eating disorders are the common among the overweight.
When the pounds start to add up, it’s not only your health you’re putting in jeopardy, but also your overall well-being.
Learn more about the dangers of obesity.
Jessica Bennett is a freelance writer with over six years of experience. She has a professional background in marketing and public relations and a strong interest in the fields of health and wellness. As an athlete herself, Jessica strives to incorporate into her own life the same fitness and nutritional advice she advocates for in her writing.
Jessica writes for the health website Belly Shape Up!