Appearing on British breakfast show This Morning, magazine editor Samantha Yardley said, "We need to make it more inconvenient to be obese," adding that she believed it was a "lifestyle choice".
Samantha told hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes that she would choose who she hired based on body size.
"I think if you are obese you knock at least eight years off your life. You need to eat a little bit less, work out a little bit more," she said.
When asked what size she would consider to be overweight, the writer said that anyone size 16 and over would fit into that category.
Eamonn asked, “Let’s get this clear, you would choose a thinner person over a fatter person every time for a job, and you would go further than that because you say that whether we all admit it or not, most of us think like that as well, that’s what you’re saying?”
Samantha responded, "Yeah, I think there’s certain subconscious processes that we all make before we speak to someone. I’m not trying to encourage people to judge people on the way that you look but I do think that there are certain things that we can change that we should be taking responsibility for and obviously weight is one of them. Just make a lifestyle change, take responsibility."
She continued, "If it was someone extremely obese I would assume that they were lacking in a little esteem."
When asked by Ruth why she thought someone's size should affect their employability, Samantha said, "If you look at the facts, people who are obese they take off double the amount of days than those people within a healthy weight range for a start.
"That's going to have a financial implication and also from personal experience being larger, you are more lethargic, you are more lazy."
She continued, saying obese people don't have the same energy those in a healthy weight range have, which is why she believes they'd be lazy in the office.
Eamonn then revealed that Samantha had previously suggested bigger clothing sizes shouldn't even be available, "That seems incredibly cruel," he said.
Social media quickly called her out with one user writing, "How vain is this woman. I’m a size 18 and I’ve got the best sickness record at work. Saying obese people have more days off is a joke."
Another added, "There’s a woman on This Morning who says people should be refused jobs if they’re fat and it needs to be more inconvenient to be fat and unemployment will put people in the mindset to lose weight. Why have they given this idiot airtime."
Someone else wrote, "This is disgusting, shocking to see that in a world where we are encouraging our children to be kinder these conversations are still happening. Many many reasons that people struggle with weight management, over weight and under weight. Don't be so narrow minded!"
Addressing the backlash, Samantha took to Instagram apologising to those she had offended, but quickly added, "Would I write it again? Abso-f*ckin-lutely! Like it or lump it, I got people talking about a pivotal issue.
“A tirade of abuse is all worthwhile if I can help extend just one person’s life. That’s a huge privilege and so many people have reached out asking for help."