The New York Times reports that the study is one of the first to calculate the financial burden of obesity. It considers both direct costs, like medical fees, and indirect costs, like lower productivity and lower wages. The study found that obese women earn $1,855 less that women of normal weight, but that obese men do not have significantly lower salaries than non-obese men. However, obese men may encounter other forms of weight discrimination. The study did not consider many personal consumer costs, like clothing, because the researchers did not have reliable means to collect such data.
Perception of obesity seems to have sexist underpinning. “One possible explanation is that there is more discrimination against women when they are obese than against men, that obesity is perceived differently for women than for men,” said Avi Dor, director of the health economics program at George Washington University. The data seems to indicate that American society finds obesity more acceptable in men than in women.