Speed Reads

Time to fight the flab

Obese Americans more likely to be unemployed longer

Unemployed and looking for a job?

The latest data from Gallup suggests that being obese could hurt your chances of finding one:

(Gallup)

Why is this the case? Employers may be uncomfortable hiring obese individuals, due to obese individuals' increased health risk. For instance, obese employees take more sick leave. Also, particularly in industries that require manual labor, such as manufacturing and construction, employers may be less likely to hire obese candidates who lack the physical fitness necessary to do the job.

And beyond that, many obese individuals may not even be able to look for a job. Gallup also found that a higher rate of health problems among the long-term unemployed hinders their efforts to find a job:

(Gallup)

But there's another side to this, too. Counted in Gallup's survey are those who became obese after they lost their jobs. Being out of work, particularly for the long-term unemployed, can itself make someone more likely to become obese. And unemployment can cause depression, another factor that makes obesity likelier.