Obesity is a topic that is often discussed and researched on a societal level, but it is seldom seriously discussed within the workplace. Leaders and management alike tend to seek shelter with regards to this troublesome topic. The thought is often that the discussion of a person's weight may lead to awkward or difficult interactions. Addressing the topic head-on creates a level of distress and anxiety for all involved, as the issue is plagued with multiple pitfalls and landmines such as discrimination suits and ADA accommodation issues.
For many years the definition of obesity was associated with height and weight charts that offered ranges of healthy weight based on age, height, weight, and gender. The current definition of obesity relies on a measure called the Body Mass Index, or BMI (see Appendix A). The BMI, which is calculated with height and weight measurements, has come to be the most internationally accepted definition of obesity. A person with a body mass index exceeding 30 is considered obese, and someone with a BMI of 40 or more has morbid obesity. Morbid obesity (class III) refers to a dangerous condition in which the sufferer is at risk of physical disability and a severely impaired quality of life.