A new study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, reported in the New York Times’ Well blog and published in the International Journal of Obesity, found that women have far less leeway than men do before they are discriminated against for their weight.
Using self-reported accounts of weight discrimination documented in the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, the researchers found that for women, weight bias begins at a BMI of 27. For a 5-foot-5 inch woman, that’s a weight of 162 pounds – just 13 pounds above her highest healthy weight, the Times notes. On average, men reported no bias until they hit a BMI of 35 – a point clinically classified as “morbidly obese.”
This bias includes problems at work and in personal relationships.
The researchers also reported that in the U.S., weight discrimination is more prevalent than biases based on sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, physical disability or religious beliefs.
These results don’t entirely surprise me. I mean, Monica’s fat suit was a running gimmick through all 10 seasons of Friends, and I feel like perceptions that overweight people are lazy, sloppy and far worse abound.
In a manifesto published on the website of the Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, a U.S.-based group, there’s the suggestion that before you make a fat joke, you swap the word “black” for “fat.” Is the joke still something you would say out loud?
Have you ever experienced weight discrimination? Or caught yourself rolling your eyes when someone overweight perpetuates your ideas about fat people? Share your thoughts here.