Childhood obesity and the obesity epidemic in general are hot topics right now. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been repeatedly asked about whether or not his weight could negatively impact a future run for president, and while Christie usually dismisses those questions, new research shows that there is a correlation between weight and perceived leadership ability.

The topic was covered in the Wall Street Journal today: Want to Be CEO? What’s Your BMI?

“Executives with larger waistlines and higher body-mass-index readings tend to be perceived as less effective in the workplace, both in performance and interpersonal relationships, according to data compiled by CCL. BMI, a common measure of body fat, is based on height and weight.”

Stereotypes almost certainly come into play: overweight people are lazy, unhealthy and lack the stamina to put in long hours on the job. If a person doesn’t care enough about their own health to make a change, how could they possibly care enough about the health of the company?

Obviously these are just stereotypes but there is a very real perception that overweight and obese individuals are not cut out for corporate-level positions. Even the most kind-hearted person may subconsciously make an assumption about an overweight individual and so I do understand why this correlation exists, whether or not weight actually does affect the person’s ability to lead.

I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter; do you think a person that is overweight would be a less effective leader than one that is in the healthy weight range?

Photo: D Sharon Pruitt/Flickr