You can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703. Using that yardstick, the average adult who is 5-foot, 9-inches tall is considered obese when his or her weight is more than 203 pounds. (204 divided by (69 x 69))x703=30.12.
In the Classroom
Ongoing research into the effects of childhood obesity on education suggests that being obese affects a child's performance in school, narrowing their chances for success later in life, says Bisakha Sen, an associate professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
"This is relatively new research, and so far the evidence is mixed," Sen says. "But some studies suggest that faculty members are more likely to have more favorable views of the nonobese. They are perceived as more efficient."
Effect on Earnings
Certainly the obese suffer discrimination in the workplace. "Appearance is not supposed to count," Sen says, "but evidence suggests that it does, especially for white women. Basically that means that they end up having a lower wage than they would otherwise have received, as well as a lower rate of promotion."
According to the George Washington University study, the annual wage loss for an obese full-time employee is $1,855 per year; her obese male counterpart loses only $75 in annual wages.
Employers who find excuses not to hire the obese have reason to be protective of their bottom lines. It's estimated that almost 40 million workdays are lost every year due to obesity-related diseases, Sen says.
"If the company carries group insurance," she says, "the premium goes up for everyone in the pool, because the risks are averaged out." Premiums for private medical insurance, she says, run about $1,100 higher annually for the obese.
Life insurance, says George Washington University's report, costs $111 more annually.
Commercial diets and procedures recommended for treatment of obesity are costly, says Michael Applebaum, a doctor, lawyer and fitness authority in Chicago. Applebaum's book -- "MASSematics: How to Get Rich by Not Dieting" -- examines the financial consequences of such treatments over the course of a lifetime.
Let's take, for example, someone who attempts to lose 1 pound a month and keep it at bay by using a diet supplement that costs $20 per month or $240 per year.