According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.”
This is astounding to see in print, but we know this is true. Daily life tells us. And even many of those who are not “obese” are still largely unhealthy. But this is the life that has been built: wake up early; grab a cup of coffee and maybe some sugar-laden oatmeal or an egg biscuit. Go to work. Sit, look at a computer. Go home, have dinner, watch TV, stay up late. Repeat.
It’s easy to point fingers and say that people should just be healthier, yet we know that it’s not that easy. At some point, an individual has to take control of their life, yet our American civilization shares a large part of the responsibility for the condition of its people. Fast food can be found around every corner, and each has a genius marketing plan to get people to eat greasy, mass produced food though everyone knows that fast food is not good for us. It seems that purchasing our food at grocery stores instead of restaurants would make us healthier, yet grocery stores are tricky too; the dichotomy captured in this cartoon, “If Food Products were Honestly Labeled” by Dan Berger and Mike Adams.
Let’s be honest, though. We could talk for days about obesity and its causes and repercussions. What are we going to do about it?
Back in the first paragraph, did you catch that word, preventable?
Let’s take a look at our lives: most of our lives are spent at work. Therefore, corporate wellness initiatives should have the power to change the obesity statistics, right?
Joshua Love, president of Kinema Fitness, a corporate fitness management company, weighs in with Five Reasons Corporate Wellness Is More Important Than Ever.
Love urges corporations to plan, to be creative, to use their power to motivate employees into wellness. He says, “Corporate wellness cannot be treated as a band-aid....Behavior modification takes time and is different from person to person. It is possible when reinforced consistently with different programs, multiple touch points, strong leadership, and unwavering commitment.”
Many corporate wellness programs fail because they assume that people want to be healthier and that people are willing to work to be healthier.
The truth is that most people have settled into their routine, and though they may want to be healthier, they don’t understand why or how to do it.
If you are planning a corporate wellness initiative, here are a few tips that we urge you to consider:
Being involved in your employees' wellness can be an exciting new aspect of your company. We hope that you consider a wellness plan for your business!
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