Workplace Wellness Participation

As Workplace Wellness Programs Address Obesity Health Issues, Statistics Provide Insights

Yesterday we reported on a recent New England Journal of Medicine study that reviews “Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years.”

The study authors conclude: “Our results show that both the prevalence and disease burden of high BMI are increasing globally. These findings highlight the need for implementation of multicomponent interventions to reduce the prevalence and disease burden of high BMI.”

Obesity and other weight-related issues are areas where a well-run workplace wellness program can help individuals improve their lifestyles and businesses address increased health costs.

To provide additional context around the issue, we are noting some important statistics on the US. obesity problem, as provided by the U.S. Government’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010 

  • More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese.
  • More than 1 in 3 adults are considered to be obese.
  • More than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity.

The site notes Causes of Overweight and Obesity: “Overweight and obesity result from an energy imbalance. The body needs a certain amount of energy (calories) from food to keep up basic life functions. Body weight tends to remain the same when the number of calories eaten equals the number of calories the body uses or ‘burns.’ Over time, when people eat and drink more calories than they burn, the energy balance tips toward weight gain, overweight, and obesity.”

The agency notes that “There is no single cause of all overweight and obesity. There is no single approach that can help prevent or treat overweight and obesity. Treatment may include a mix of behavioral treatment, diet, exercise, and sometimes weight-loss drugs.”

And the issues can be serious.

Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (excess fat and inflammation in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol)
  • osteoarthritis (a health problem causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more joints)
  • some types of cancer: breast, colon, endometrial (related to the uterine lining), and kidney
  • stroke