Certainly the obese suffer discrimination in the workplace. "Appearance is not supposed to count," Sen says, "but evidence suggests that it does, especially for white women. Basically that means that they end up having a lower wage than they would otherwise have received, as well as a lower rate of promotion."
According to the George Washington University study, the annual wage loss for an obese full-time employee is $1,855 per year; her obese male counterpart loses only $75 in annual wages.
Employers who find excuses not to hire the obese have reason to be protective of their bottom lines. It's estimated that almost 40 million workdays are lost every year due to obesity-related diseases, Sen says.
"If the company carries group insurance," she says, "the premium goes up for everyone in the pool, because the risks are averaged out." Premiums for private medical insurance, she says, run about $1,100 higher annually for the obese.
Life insurance, says George Washington University's report, costs $111 more annually.