Workplace Wellness & Obesity: How Employers Can Address America’s Weight Issue

According to a study by human resources consulting firm Towers Watson, in the next three years we’ll see more wellness-related incentives and penalties in the workplace. Nearly half of all US employers think that workplace wellness programs are essential, with 84% planning to add more workplace wellness support over the next two years.

One of the health issues 75% of respondents hope to alleviate with workplace wellness programs is employee obesity. With weight a widespread issue across America, the impact of obesity is felt not only in one’s personal life, but also in the private sector.

Why should your company care about obesity among employees, and how can workplace wellness programs help? Here are the details.

Obesity & Workplace Wellness Programs

How Does Obesity Affect Adults?

With 2/3 of the US population overweight and 1/3 of Americans obese, there’s clearly a weight problem in our country. Being overweight and obese can lead to a number of serious health issues, including:Obesity & Workplace Wellness Programs

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Certain cancers
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hypertension
  • Gall bladder disease

How Does Obesity Impact the Workplace?

The costs of obesity go beyond individuals’ health and make a mark on the workplace as well. US employers spend an estimated $73 billion on obesity-related health car costs per year.

Money isn’t the only thing lost by obesity — it also results in more unproductive workers. There are approximately 39 million lost work days per year due to obesity: obese men take 5.9 more sick days on average than their peers, while obese women take 9.4 more.

Fighting Obesity With Workplace Wellness Programs

In order for workplace wellness programs to adequately deal with the obesity epidemic, they should take a more holistic approach to the causes of weight gain, including emotional triggers and genetic factors.

Any effective workplace wellness program will have a weight management component that supports healthy behavioral changes and teaches employees the necessary skills to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Such a plan should include:

  • A focus on overall health and long term weight goals
  • A biological, behavioral and psychological base
  • A way to teach the lifelong skills needed for healthy weight loss
  • Availability of healthy worksite food in company cafeterias and vending machines
  • Availability of healthy food and water at worksite meetings
  • Consultation with dietitians
  • Company-sponsored, paid, or discounted exercise and yoga classes and gym memberships
  • Online-support tools

Elk Grove Village Employers, Get Help With Workplace Wellness

ARCpoint Labs of Elk Grove Village has wellness-trained experts who can provide assistance with your workplace wellness programs, including obesity or weight management portions. Learn how we can help by calling (847) 264-4677 today!

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