News Dedicated to a Healthy Workplace August 2012
Five Ways to Fight Obesity in the Workplace
The obesity epidemic has affected every part of the United States. In every state, more than 15% of adults are obese, and in nine states, over 30% of adults are obese. Obesity is a contributing cause of many health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death in the U.S. The medical care costs of obesity are staggering. Recent estimates of annual medical costs are as high as $147 billion. 

According to Karen Miener, BarnesCare corporate health manager, employers are noting the trend and taking an active role in helping employees fight obesity by offering worksite education and assistance programs. “An investment in the right programs can help reduce sick days and overall costs related to obesity,” says Miener. “That’s why BarnesCare has partnered with BJC health and fitness professionals to offer employers five high-impact strategies to jump-start the workplace fight against obesity.” 

Strategy One: Weight Management Education 
Conducted by a registered dietitian, each session will focus on the principles of nutrition in a fun, innovative format. The supportive group environment empowers participants to implement lifestyle modifications centered on improving nutrition and increasing physical activity. Education programs can be tailored to most workplace schedules and populations. 

Strategy Two: Incentive Programs 
Motivate your team with fun, dynamic incentive programs. Choose from a variety of proven concepts such as step programs, weight loss competitions, fitness challenges and calorie awareness contests to get individuals and work teams moving. Each incentive concept can be customized to your specific work population or fitness level. 

Strategy Three: Group Exercise Classes 
Invite a certified instructor/trainer to lead your team in exercise. This affordable option helps employees develop functional fitness programs that create accountability and support structures within your organization. Group exercise class options include “Total Body Works” (similar to a boot camp), zumba and yoga. Classes are structured to address a wide variety of fitness levels. 

Strategy Four: Small Group Personal Training 
This affordable option helps your employees develop functional fitness programs, create accountability and maintain support structures throughout your employee population. Small group personal training consists of two to five participants and offers a more personalized approach to developing exercise programming. 

Strategy Five: Health Coaching 
Like traditional coaching, health coaches utilize goal setting, identification of obstacles and use of personal support systems. This personalized method helps high-risk individuals address their issues and make behavioral changes to improve health. The coach and employee develop a partnership that focuses on the employee’s overall health goals. 

“We know what it takes to create, implement and sustain a successful program,” says Miener. “We understand that a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to nutrition and weight loss will not work in every environment. We believe our role as health educators is to identify real solutions for the individuals and companies we serve. Our evidence-based approach includes motivation, promotion and rewarding success.” 

To discuss which option works best for your workforce, contact a BJC corporate health consultant at 314.747.5859. 

(What is obesity? Obesity is defined by body mass index, or BMI, which is calculated from your height and weight. BMI greater than or equal to 30 means you are obese. Learn more and check your BMI.)

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