The workplace can be an environment that encourages unhealthy habits to include poor eating choices combined with lack of exercise. If your company is feeling the results of this in terms of increased health care premium costs, paid sick days, and unproductive employees; perhaps it’s time to start a corporate health and wellness program to help your staff lose those extra pounds?
In a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over one-third of all Americans are considered to be overweight and another one-third are medically obese. These numbers are expected to rise by the year 2050 to more than half of the American population. Kids are now in the fastest rising population of obese people in America, because of generational behaviours.
Being obese comes from a variety of factors, but work can contribute to stress eating and lack of proper fitness. It’s difficult for many working adults to fit exercise into their lifestyle, and many turn to fast-food meals rushed in between tasks. This is clearly not a healthy way to live or to work. A Duke University study from 2010 indicated that weight-related illnesses and absenteeism cost employers an average of $73 billion annually.
For the employer trying to reduce bottom line costs like these, a simple plan could include instituting the following elements to the entire employee population this year:
- Providing access to on-site physical activity options (bike and walking paths, fitness equipment, sports teams)
- Giving employees incentives to eat healthier and lose weight through fitness (HSA contributions, discounted gym memberships, on-site wellness support)
- Supporting employees who wish to attend weight loss or lifestyle change seminars, retreats and counseling.
- Educating employees on a continual basis about weight loss and wellness topics to encourage a corporate culture mind-shift.
Today, many employers also work with health care benefits vendors to support weight loss and other wellness initiatives. Some offer personal health assessments to help employees reduce their waistlines and their company costs.
Be sure to review our other related content here at Suburban Group on the topic of cutting costs and managing your human resources needs. Suburban Group also offers staffing support to help you maintain a healthy work team.