obesity workplace wellness

CDC Report Reflects Work Needed from Workplace Wellness: Nearly 40% of U.S. Adults are Obese

New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that employees and employers still have much work to do to help combat obesity in America.

As we noted previously, the State of Obesity report headlines: “Workplace wellness programs boost employee health and productivity and reduce absenteeism.”

The report states: “Research demonstrates that multicomponent workplace wellness programs can be an important strategy in preventing and reducing obesity. A number of reviews have found these initiatives can pay for themselves by increasing productivity and reducing absenteeism. They also have been shown to reduce weight, body fat and BMI, and increase physical activity. Many state health departments have developed resources to assist employers in creating effective wellness programs, such as the Work Well Texas program discussed in a subsequent section.”

Now the Los Angeles Times reports that “Americans’ obesity rates have reached a new high-water mark. Again. In 2015 and 2016, just short of 4 in 10 American adults had a body mass index that put them in obese territory.”

The data come from a new CDC report titled “Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2015–2016.” The report states: “The prevalence of obesity was 39.8% among adults and 18.5% among youth in the United States in 2015–2016. The prevalence of obesity was higher among adults aged 40–59 than among adults aged 20–39 overall and in both men and women.”

It continues: “The prevalence of obesity in the United States remains higher than the Healthy People 2020 goals of 14.5% among youth and 30.5% among adults.”

According to the LA Times: “Patrick T. Bradshaw, who studies population health at UC Berkeley, says the new statistics underscore that turning the tide on obesity will require more aggressive and targeted efforts.”

“The rising obesity levels ‘suggest that we haven’t been successful in efforts to reduce or prevent obesity in the population,’ Bradshaw said. He echoed a growing consensus among public health experts that if progress is to be made in driving down obesity rates in the population at large, campaigns may need to focus on the specific challenges faced by Latinos and African Americans — especially women — in weight management.”