About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Support Employee Weight Loss

More than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. So it's not surprising that almost half of all companies with wellness programs also offer weight loss programs, according to a survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans.

The largest proportion of respondents said they offered wellness programs to control the cost of health care. Overweight and obesity are tied to numerous chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, so it makes sense for employers to help employees lose weight.

However, employers are also in the unique position of being able to create a welcoming, wellness environment -- where workers feel motivated to lose weight.

Most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work. If work is where they feel safe, unstressed -- and positively motivated by peers and colleagues to lose weight, the chances of success are greater.

“Helping employees maintain a healthy weight is one way employers believe they can control health care costs,” saysKelli Kolsrud, senior information/research specialist at the International Foundation, says ReliablePlant.com. “Employee weight loss programs have gained popularity in recent years. These programs are often successful because participants have a built in support system. Morning donuts are replaced with fresh fruit, lunch hours are spent walking with colleagues – it’s really about building a culture of wellness that encourages success.”

What does this means for the wellness professional?
Does the employer offer a collegial and welcoming environment?
Is there peer-pressure to exercise during lunch hours?
Provide regular fitness challenges.
Provide bonuses to everyone who works out, not just the overweight.
Schedule "health-choice" potlucks.

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