Moreover, in another study of 445 obese workers, 1 in 4 said that they have been denied benefits like health insurance because of their weight. In fact, allegations of weight discrimination grew 66% from 2000-2010 in employment settings, health-care facilities and educational institutions, according to Obesity.

As has been reported on AOL Jobs, appearance discrimination isn't illegal; the obese aren't automatically protected from discrimination. Only the state of Michigan and six U.S. cities have laws protecting the obese from discrimination. However, new amendments to 1990's Americans With Disabilities Act may make it possible for obese workers to be protected from discrimination for their weight condition.

Does Obesity Create Job Opportunities?

The two issues of obesity and employment do, however, have a positive intersection -- a new market has been created. According to a report from Reuters, "fitness is shaping up as one of the hottest careers of this tepid economic recovery." The sector is expected to grow by 24 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And the demand for fitness instructors is growing, despite the recession: health club membership is up by more than 10 percent over the past three years, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sports Club Association.

"The obesity epidemic has produced a lot of noise and talk and chatter," says Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, which has certified more than 50,000 fitness professionals. "Helping individuals be more active is important and fitness professionals can be at the center of that."

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