Michigan is the only state where it's illegal to discriminate against a person because of their weight. Everywhere else, a person can be fired (or not hired) due to their excess weight, although weight discrimination can be seen on persons of any weight, including very slim people.
They can be refused housing or other opportunities that others don't think twice about. And there is new evidence that this discrimination may hinder overweight people from getting the help they need to live healthier lives.
A recent poll of more than 1100 people, conducted by Reuters showed that more than 60 percent of respondent believe that obesity is caused by personal choice and nearly 20 percent blame processed foods and fast food. Almost half think that obese people should be charged more for insurance.
So with all this information, it would appear that slimmer people would be the ones doing the discrimination. But since the majority of Americans are overweight, are they discriminating against themselves?
According to researchers at Imperial College London and Harvard University about 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese so at least two-thirds of these opinions are coming from those who are overweight themselves.
However, many Americans do not consider themselves overweight, even though they are, so this may be why the respondents of the polls replied the way they did.
And according to Lynn McAfee, the director of medical advocacy for the Council on Size and Weight Discrimination who was interviewed about the Reuters poll, "... studies show that fat people are even more prejudiced against fat people than thin people are."
Reuters also found that doctor's discriminate, with assumptions that overweight people may not take care of themselves as well as people of a healthy weight, including not taking their medications as required. Doctors also tend to spend less time with obese patients and ironically don't counsel them about living more healthy lives.
Therefore obese people may not be given the opportunities to get healthier that they need.