According to data just released by the State of Obesity website, obesity rates among teens aged 12 to 19 have quadrupled, from 5% to 20.6% since 1980. These kids are your future employees.
Of course, that really shouldn’t be any surprise, given that the obesity rate among adults is 40% according to the CDC. Obesity dramatically increases preventable health problems like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and many cancers. The medical costs for these are $147 billion a year or about $1,400 per person higher than those of normal weight.
Stopping the Trend
How can this be prevented? The two core pillars of obesity prevention that first come to mind are healthy eating and active living, i.e., diet and exercise. We’ve known that for years, so why does the problem continue to get worse? I think it’s because we live in an age of prosperity. We have machines and appliances to do most of the physical work our ancestors used to do. Food is everywhere. Whether in giant supermarkets, vending machines, and $1 menus at fast food joints, it’s too easy to consume way more calories than anyone needs.
This current trend of easily accessible food also applies to the workplace. With the average American working 44 hours per week, I think employees are more inclined to pick something up for lunch based on convenience and limited free time during the day. With a busy schedule and plethora of options, what can you do as a company to influence a healthy workplace?
Companies can do a lot. Here at Marlin we promote healthy living through advice we publish on our digital signage. Here are 3 main strategies we use to influence a healthy lifestyle at work:
Take a Walk
Taking walks periodically throughout the day not only helps you get some exercise, it can also be a nice mental break from a hectic workday.
Get a Yearly Physical
Everyone might think that they’re relatively healthy, but no one actually knows until they visit their doctor. Offering incentives for employees to take a yearly physical through health insurance will erase any doubt of their current health condition and give them extra guidance for living a healthy lifestyle. Not only will this create a healthy and happier workplace, it also helps keep health insurance costs down for everyone.
Engage and Inform Employees
Just as your doctor gives you an actionable plan for a healthy lifestyle, you can extend similar messages and information to all employees in your company. Informing employees of events like daily group walks or giving quick health tips throughout the day will help your employees create a healthy daily routine that can be used for years to come.
Start Thinking About Your Future Employees Today
These are long-term goals-ones I think every company should be doing. Much of the healthy-living content that we display is the same stuff our customers see when they subscribe to our digital signage product. Marlin can definitely help you with your health & wellness communications. Contact us to find out how.