weight workplace wellness

Report Links Excess Weight with Shorter Life, Increased Heart Risk

Managing excess weight — a key component of a well-run workplace wellness program — is part of a coordinated plan that helps employees address potential chronic disease and helps employers address potential health costs.

We recently reported that the the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force issued a Draft Recommendation Statement on the role of behavioral interventions titled “Weight Loss to Prevent Obesity-Related Morbidity and Mortality in Adults: Behavioral Interventions.”

The note states: “The USPSTF found adequate evidence that behavior-based weight loss interventions in adults with obesity can lead to clinically significant improvements in weight status and reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes among adults with obesity and elevated plasma glucose levels. The USPSTF found adequate evidence that behavior-based weight loss maintenance interventions are associated with less weight gain after the cessation of interventions compared with control groups. The magnitude of these benefits is moderate.”

It concludes: “The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that offering or referring adults with obesity to intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions (i.e., behavior-based weight loss and weight loss maintenance interventions) has a moderate net benefit.”

Weight as a Life Factor

Now a new report from JAMA Cardiology adds even more impetus for one of the benefits of a well-run workplace wellness plan — managing obesity.

As MedPage Today reports: “Obesity was tied to a shorter lifespan, and a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality compared with normal BMI, researchers reported. In addition, being overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) was linked with a significantly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) at an earlier age.”

The report is titled Association of Body Mass Index With Lifetime Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Compression of Morbidity. According to the authors, the study’s importance is that “prior studies have demonstrated lower all-cause mortality in individuals who are overweight compared with those with normal body mass index (BMI), but whether this may come at the cost of greater burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is unknown.”

The report concludes: “In this study, obesity was associated with shorter longevity and significantly increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality compared with normal BMI. Despite similar longevity compared with normal BMI, overweight was associated with significantly increased risk of developing CVD at an earlier age, resulting in a greater proportion of life lived with CVD morbidity.”

And while BMI is just one measure, the report highlights a role that measure can play: “The results of this study build on prior research from the Cardiovascular Disease Lifetime Risk Pooling Project10 highlighting marked differences in lifetime risks of CVD and further highlight the importance of consideration of BMI as a risk factor for diminished healthy longevity and greater overall CVD morbidity and mortality.”