Plus size and obese workers: Anthropometry estimates to promote inclusive design

A significant proportion of the adult population globally is overweight, obese or classed as ‘plus size’. This has led to variability in size and shape across the working population and exclusion in the workplace. A new dataset of the anthropometry of plus size people has been created. Length dimensions were similar to other data, but breadth, circumference, and depth measurements were substantially larger. Hip breadth and abdominal depth were important for predicting largeness in this population. These data help explain the high exclusion rates from design and the number of fit, reach, posture and clearance issues reported by participants with a high BMI: generally, the higher the BMI the greater prevalence of problems. It is hoped that a better understanding of the anthropometric characteristics of the plus size worker will inform the design of safe, productive work environments to promote inclusion for a wider range of people.