Half of Americans Support Laws Against Weight-Based Discrimination – Body Health World


Should there be laws in place to protect people with obesity from being denied a job or housing opportunities on the basis of their weight status? Whether or not you answer yes to that question may be influenced by your gender, race, or your own weight, according to a study that examined how these factors impact perceptions of obesity, weight bias, and weight-based discrimination laws.

About half of Americans would support laws against weight-based discrimination, with those who have personally experienced weight bias being about twice as likely to support the policy as people who have not, according to the findings, which were presented June 7 at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Annual Meeting (ASMBS) in Dallas.

Can a Person Be Denied a Job or Fired Because of How Much They Weigh?

Weight bias is defined as negative attitudes, beliefs, judgments, stereotypes, and discriminatory acts aimed at people simply because of their weight, according to Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). This can be obvious or subtle, and can happen in any setting — work, healthcare, school, and even personal relationships.

What exactly does weight bias look like in practice? Take the case of Taylor v. Burlington Northern Railroad Holdings, Inc. Casey Taylor was an ex-Marine who sued after the railway company made a conditional job offer but then revoked it when a medical exam found his BMI (body mass index) to be in the severely obese range. Taylor was 5 feet 6 inches tall and 256 pounds, which translates to a 41.3 BMI.


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