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Fact Sheet: Size Discrimination

  • People who are larger than "average" encounter discriminatory attitudes and are denied equal opportunity in many areas of their lives.

  • Overweight and obese women have lower incomes ($6,700 a year less) and higher rates of poverty (10 percent higher) than their non-obese peers.

  • Studies show that overweight and obese students, especially girls, are less likely than the non-obese to be accepted by the more competitive colleges. This is true even if the girls' grades, standardized test scores, and other variables are the same as for other boys and girls.

  • Overweight people are less likely to attend college even though they score high on standardized tests and are academically motivated. Also, overweight women are more likely than other men or women to pay their way through college.

  • Overweight students are more likely to be refused letters of recommendation from faculty members.

  • Overweight people are not hired as often as those of average size, are not promoted as often, are paid less than their thinner counterparts, may be charged more for employee insurance coverage, and are sometimes fired because of their weight.

How You Can Raise Awareness on this Issue

  • Put pressure on companies that discriminate against overweight people or force employees into weight- loss programs.

  • Fight accessibility problems within restaurants, theaters, airplanes and other forms of public transportation. If you are an "average-sized" person, your advocacy on this issue will more likely result in change.

  • Try to ensure that there are programs in schools that teach tolerance and non-violence and that they include teaching that overweight kids should not be harassed, put on diets, or denied food.

  • Challenge attitudes; challenge fat jokes.

  • Do not judge people by their size.

Sources:

  • "Weight Discrimination: Our Position", Council on Weight Discrimination
  • Report on Discrimination Due to Physical Size, National Education Association
  • NAAFA Policy on Employment Discrimination, National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance

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