05 Jul Workforce Obesity: What Can You Do?
What can you do to help workers maintain a healthy weight and keep your bottom line healthy at the same time? Read about a company that’s helping its workers lose tons of weight.
|Employees of Health Care Services Corporation (HCSC) lost more than 53,000 pounds last year. HCSC is the owner and operator of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
According to Senior Vice President Dr. Paul Handel, that amount tops the company’s 20-ton weight-loss goal. A robust wellness program including fitness centers, classes, and healthy cafeteria food are part of the solution.
“Many employers have viewed wellness programs as a nice extra when times are flush,” says Handel. “We believe that the obesity epidemic and the rising toll of diabetes now make them a strategic imperative.”
Financial incentives are an important part of the HCSC strategy. In addition to tying wellness to annual bonuses, the company offers employees additional incentives of up to $200 a year for taking an annual wellness exam and logging their physical activity.
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The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), isn’t about short-term dietary changes. It’s about a lifestyle that includes:
· Healthy eating;
· Regular physical activity; and
· Balancing the number of calories consumed with the number of calories the body uses.
According to CDC the first step in maintaining a healthy weight is to look at the current situation. Body Mass Index (BMI) is one way to measure weight. BMI calculations are based on height and weight:
· A BMI of 18.5 signifies being underweight.
· The range between 18.5 and 24.4 is considered to be a normal weight.
· The range between 24.5 and 29.9 is considered to be overweight.
· A BMI between 30 and 40 is considered to be obese.
· BMI of 40 and greater is considered to be morbid or extreme obesity.
Your employees can calculate their BMI by going to