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November 26, 2013
Employers call obesity a top health challenge. Do you agree?

A new report says employers are concerned about obesity in the workplace and they need help figuring out how to implement programs that work. Read more about the problem and make sure you’re not contributing to it.

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The Christmas cookies and candies are piling up in the break room, and it’s all pretty hard to resist. According to “Weight Control and the Workplace,” a report by the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), employee weight problems are a concern all year long, not just at the holidays.

The NEBGH reports that overweight employees cost employers more than $73 billion each year and are at risk for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other chronic conditions. The group found that one of the challenges in engaging people in weight control efforts is the stigma associated with being overweight or obese.

The document identifies current intervention strategies and models that have proven effective. You can download the document from the website http://www.nebgh.org.

Elements of a successful weight control program

An NEBGH panel recommends the following:

  • Support from top executives to make wellness an organizational priority;
  • Incentives and discounts to increase employee participation;
  • Branding and marketing efforts to build trust and attract participation;
  • Return-on-investment data to build a compelling business case for investments in weight control and wellness; and
  • Establishing success measures like health outcomes and employee engagement and satisfaction.

During the holiday season you can help employees avoid those extra pounds with tactics like these:

  • Ditch the candy dish and make sugar-free mints available.
  • Start a December walking group to help employees burn extra calories and get outside, even in the cold.
  • Make this year’s potluck lunch Holiday Healthy. Consider a salad bar with lots of fresh veggies in place of the ham and casseroles.
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