Why Obesity is Bad for Businesses

obesity in the workplace
Obesity can impact your staff performance – and more

Obesity is a very common problem in many workplaces. Obesity is no longer just an individual issue, but a problem which has adverse impacts on business. Some of the effects of obesity in the workplace include increased claim costs and health insurance premium, more time off from work as a result of illness and increased vulnerability to on-the-job injuries. All these result in lower productivity for individuals and the company as a whole. Obesity among employees’ children also affects the company. Premiums for obese children are much higher. In addition, health problems in children results in lower productivity for the parent. Parents cannot fully focus on their work while worrying about a child who is obese.

Over the recent years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of obese people in the workplace. In America, research has shown that at least one out of three people are obese. The health risks linked to obesity include cancer, diabetes, hypertension, gall bladder disease, endocrine problems, arthritis, breathing problems or even premature death.

It is therefore vital that employers put in place measures which will ease the adverse effects of obesity in the workplace. The main advantage of reducing obesity is having healthier and happier employees. Healthier and happier employees take less days off due to illness and are more productive.


Biometrics can help you get an idea of the overall health of your employees. The more obese employees you have, the more it will cost your business. Once you establish how much obesity is likely to cost your business, you can then decide on the best strategy for managing it.

Healthy culture

You could begin by creating a culture of wellness, fitness and general health at your workplace. Encourage people to know where they stand health-wise in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI). Once people become aware of their health condition, they will be more willing to change their behaviors in an effort to improve their overall health. Moreover, if people know how their BMI will affect them in 15 or 20 years, they are more likely to act today so as to ensure that they remain healthy in the long term. Ultimately, being healthy will cost them less in terms of health insurance premiums.

As an employer, you can also offer your staff educational materials which offer advice about healthy eating habits for children. In addition, you could organize regular free health clinics for employees and their families.

Management-driven initiatives

Employees are more likely to take part in health initiatives if the management is fully involved from the onset. If the management is not leading by example, then employees will not take any initiative seriously. Company executives must be actively involved in every health program so as to motivate employees to do the same.

Health financing education

Your employees need to know how health care is financed. If your company has many claims related to obesity and unhealthy lifestyles, you will be required to pay more in premiums. This means that employees will be paid less so as to cater for the additional premium. Share this information with your staff through emails, meetings and newsletters.

Support groups

Companies can encourage their employees to start weight-loss groups to support each other. In such groups, they will be able to hold each other accountable for weight loss and eating habits. Such a group can go a long way in helping employees make healthier choices.

Fitness centers

Large companies can establish in-house fitness centers for their employees, while small companies can offer discounts to staff who sign up for membership in local fitness clubs.

About the Author: Charles Mburugu often writes for Bistro MD coupon and Medifast coupon code, and also Noobpreneur.com. He also blogs about special coupon and discount offers such as Bistro MD discounts and Medifast coupons.