The answer may surprise you

Overweight women are 16 times more likely to be discriminated against in the workplace than males, according to a 2007 survey. In fact, studies have found that weight discrimination is the most common form of prejudice in the workplace, more so than sexual orientation, race or religion. This bias can lead to a loss of talent and productivity for a business.

A recent Southern Illinois University study involving 542 participants rated an average and overweight man and woman for hotel positions requiring different levels of guest interaction and physical work. Findings showed that the overweight woman was the most discriminated against by being chosen for a less visible job while the overweight male was rated more favorably. Solutions to this kind of discrimination can be as easy as managerial training, the study suggests.

For more information, contact Lynn Bartels, Associate Professor of Psychology, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL. Phone: 618-650-2569. Email:lbartel@siue.edu.