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10/10/2005

Workplace Wellness Promotes Healthy Lifestyle for Employees

By Gary Hanson, President, American Safety & Health Management Consultants, Inc.

Submitted by Julie Borchert, Marketing Specialist, Compensation Consultants Inc.
614-526-7244 / 800-837-3200, ext. 7244

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. workers have become more obese over the past 15 years. In the early 1990s, only 20 percent of the workforce was classified as obese. Now, 29 percent of workers are obese, and only 34 percent maintain a normal weight. The Center classifies obesity as 30 or higher on the Body Mass Index (BMI).
Obesity is an important issue among the American workforce, and the declining health of employees should be a concern to all employers. Obesity causes seven percent of workers to have workplace limitations. Obesity and overweight employees are also at greater risk for health conditions. Among obese workers, 12 percent have Type 2 diabetes, compared to three percent of normal weight workers. Thirty-five percent of the obese also have hypertension.

To help employees with workplace wellness, employers should encourage the following five steps:

* Encourage awareness of unhealthy behaviors;
* Support a winning attitude to help overcome difficulties;
* Commit to success;
* Believe in the importance of good health and maintaining healthy habits;
* Emphasize a consistent behavioral change.

A healthy lifestyle with exercise and weight management is not easy. However, the positive effects on health and attitude are worth the effort, and all employers should motivate employees to adapt the five steps of workplace health.

Obesity and other weight-related conditions are becoming a constant problem among American workers. A wellness program in the workplace should be instituted for the benefit of all employees. The program will save money in healthcare costs, reduce job-related injuries and increase employee work longevity.

For additional information concerning workplace wellness, please contact American Safety & Health Management Consultants, Inc. at 800-356-1274.

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