Jobs for Obese People
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Despite nearly 70 percent of the American population being classified as overweight or obese, employers still discriminate against heavier workers. Heavier people generally tend to have a harder time finding work due to misconceptions that the heavy weight will affect one's quality of work, fears about costs from weight-related health problems or that customers and clients would not want to buy from someone who is obese. However, there are jobs that are well-suited for obese individuals, including desk jobs or opportunities to work from home that don't require physical fitness.
According to a University of Ohio study, employers don't like to hire obese people because they think obese people cannot perform the required tasks of the job. The study suggests that obese people who apply for sedentary jobs — jobs where most of the duties are performed from a desk — might have better luck. Most office jobs that have employees at a desk working from a computer fall into this category, but other sedentary jobs include transportation workers (i.e., truck and bus drivers), forklift operators, and call center operators.
High-speed Internet access, fax machines and cell phones have made it possible for people to work for bosses they've never seen in states or countries miles away from the home office. Obese people may fare better in virtual or telecommuting jobs because employers will not know what they look like; they will not form the prejudices obese people encounter in traditional interviews. According to telecommuting and freelance job site FlexJobs, some of the most common "work from home" jobs include adjunct faculty teaching online courses, writer and editor, customer service representative, sales and account executives, medical billing and coding, and software development, among others.
Jobs Outside of the Medical Field
According to Harriett Brown's 2010 essay in The New York Times, medical professionals are some of the most prejudiced against obese people. For this reason, it may be harder for people who are obese to get jobs in the medical field. Similarly, the Ohio University study in the 1990s suggested that obese people should look for jobs that don't require high energy. On the other hand, some experts recommend that overweight or obese individuals should look for jobs with a higher calorie burn rate, like teaching, food service, construction work or real estate, so they can use more energy and shed some extra pounds.
You can also turn your efforts to get healthy into a means to earn cash. Several apps and websites pay cash if you keep a food diary or track your activity using a fitness monitor like FitBit. One fitness app, Achievemint, pays you when you earn a certain amount of points for your activity. Other apps allow you to earn cash for reaching your goals or for winning challenges against other users. These apps can be a source of regular income and provide some incentive to start becoming more active.
- Science Daily: Employer Bias Against Obese Persons Isn't Based on Looks, Study Finds
- MSNBC: Fat Chance
- MSNBC: Obese Employees Take More Sick Days
- "New York Times": For Obese People, Prejudice is in Plain Sight
- FlexJobs: 20 Most Common Work-from-Home Job Titles
- Rare: These Are the Most Sedentary Jobs in America — Do You Work One of Them?
- Fitness Blender: Calories Burned by Occupation - How Many Calories Does My Job Burn?
- Money Pantry: 12 Apps That Pay You to Exercise
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Overweight & Obesity Statistics
Miranda Morley is an educator, business consultant and owner of a copywriting/social-media management company. Her work has been featured in the "Boston Literary Magazine," "Subversify Magazine" and "American Builder's Quarterly." Morley has a B.A. in English, political science and international relations. She is completing her M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University Calumet.