What is the Role of Occupational Health for Obesity Management?

Obesity has become a significant concern in the workplace, impacting both employees and employers. Over a quarter of UK adults are currently living with obesity, and numbers are rising across the world.

Routines, work environments, and job demands can influence eating habits, activity levels, and overall weight health. As a result, it is crucial for employers to address obesity and support their workforce’s weight management journey.

Here at Bodyline, we want to help explore the role of occupational health in managing obesity and promoting a healthier workplace environment for the benefit of individuals, companies, and the public health of the entire country.

Understanding the Impact of Obesity in the Workplace

Obesity not only affects individuals but also has tangible effects on the workforce as a whole. It is directly linked to an increased risk of life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and cancer, leading to premature deaths among employees. This not only impacts the well-being of individuals but also reduces the overall workforce population, due to increased sick days, early retirements, and higher mortality rates.

Therefore, obesity-related health problems contribute to higher rates of absenteeism, resulting in a significant number of lost working days each year. In the UK alone, 131 million working days are lost annually due to sickness, with obesity reportedly playing a substantial role in these absences. The economic cost of these absences is estimated to be around £22 billion, a figure that is expected to rise as obesity rates increase.

Obesity also hampers productivity in the workplace. Individuals living with obesity are more prone to workplace accidents, further impacting productivity and efficiency. Additionally, the stigma surrounding weight and obesity can lead to discrimination, prejudice, and bullying, negatively affecting mental health and exacerbating productivity challenges.

The Multi-Faceted Approach to Obesity Management

Recognising that the relationship between obesity and the workforce is mutual is vital, as the approach to tackling this issue should be comprehensive and tailored to individual lifestyles.

Routines, schedules, movement and activity throughout the workday; all of these factors impact weight health and yet are commonly caused by a person’s role or workplace environment. An office worker stationary at a desk all day compared to a warehouse overnight shift worker have different lifestyles, yet both are predisposed to weight gain thanks to their job role. Due to this, an approach to improve the health of one may not work to improve the health of the other – that’s where tailored occupational health comes in.

It is also essential to understand that obesity is not solely a result of lifestyle choices but can also be influenced by factors beyond an individual’s control. Medical issues, genetic predispositions, as well as social determinants such as race, class, and disability, can all contribute to an increased risk of obesity.

To effectively address obesity in the workplace, a multi-faceted and holistic approach is necessary. Employers should provide avenues for weight health and obesity management, ensuring that employees have access to the support they need.

Promoting healthy eating habits and physical activity in the workplace has so far not worked to improve obesity in the population, which is why it is crucial to recognise that obesity management may require more than just diet and exercise alone.

Bernie Murphy, the Head of Clinical Services at Bodyline Clinic says:

“Here at Bodyline, we have a wealth of experience supporting our patients over the years on personalised and holistic wellness programmes to improve their health and wellbeing. Obesity management requires an approach that considers each individual; their lifestyle, their goals, their medical history, and their abilities. It’s not one size fits all. With support from our entire team, we help people find what works for them. Bodyline’s weight health programmes are accessible direct to patient or are provided as a supported weight health programme to employees refereed by employers to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace”

Contact Bodyline today to find out more about our safe and effective weight loss programmes and range of treatment options.

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The Role of Occupational Health in Obesity Management

Occupational health plays a vital role in supporting employees and addressing obesity in the workplace. By partnering with specialist weight health providers such as Bodyline, employers can offer the latest in medical weight loss solutions alongside fully supported weight loss programmes. This approach ensures that employees receive personalised treatment options tailored to their needs, prioritising medically targeted solutions for those who struggle to lose weight with diet and exercise alone.

Occupational health can also ensure that employers are not contributing to the stigmatisation of obesity. Language and tact should be carefully considered to eliminate weight-based stigma and emphasise the contributions that all employees can make to the company and the wider economy, as well as the benefits to their personal health.

Occupational health providers can offer guidance on weight management programmes, including medically supervised treatments such as safe and effective injectable weight health medications. These programs consider individual circumstances, medical history, and lifestyle factors to develop effective weight loss strategies. By working closely with healthcare professionals, employees can receive the necessary guidance, support, and tools to manage their weight effectively.

Weight loss is the most effective tactic in reducing the chances of weight-health related absences and productivity loss. Studies show a loss of  5-10% of body weight can positively impact a person’s health outcomes, and sustained weight loss of this level is proven to:

  • Reduce absenteeism by more than 4 days per year
  • Improve presenteeism by 6.3%
  • Reduce lifetime risk of Type 2 diabetes by 3%
  • Reduce cardiovascular risk by as much as 20%
  • Improve HDL cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Reduce the severity of sleep apnoea by more than 25%

For more information on obesity management and personalized weight loss programs, contact Bodyline Clinic today at 0800 995 6036 or fill out our online contact form. Our experienced weight health clinical team are ready to provide the guidance and support you need on your or your employees weight loss journey.

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