(Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

Obese women are more likely to be discriminated against when applying for jobs and receive lower wages than their thinner counterparts, suggests new research published in the International Journal of Obesity.

The study used the universal measure of bias (UMB), which measures anti-fat prejudice, to see if it could predict job discrimination based on a person’s level of obesity. The researchers also assessed whether a person’s own body image, conservative personality or social dominance orientation were related to obesity discrimination.

Explains researcher Kerry O’Brien: “Participants viewed a series of resumes that had a small photo of the job applicant attached, and were asked to make ratings of the applicants’ suitability, starting salary, and employability. We used pictures of women pre- and post-bariatric surgery, and varied whether participants saw either a resume, amongst many, that had a picture of an obese female (BMI 38-41) attached, or the same female but in a normal weight range (BMI 22-24) following bariatric surgery. We found that strong obesity discrimination was displayed across all job selection criteria, such as starting salary, leadership potential, and likelihood of selecting an obese candidate for the job.”

In another recent study, University of California, San Diego researchers found that overweight women who reported being satisfied with their size were shielded from some of the harmful behavioral and psychological effects that can be associated with being overweight.

Source: Medical News Today

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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