Why Obesity Should be a Vital Concern for Employers

Obesity is a pressing global issue that has far-reaching effects on society, and now we are beginning to see its impact on the workplace and employers. 

With rising obesity rates and its impact on individual health and overall well-being, understanding the relationship between weight health and work will be essential for employers to take proactive measures in managing its repercussions. 

It is predicted that by 2025, a fifth of the world’s adult population will be obese. The UK is currently sitting at the top of Europe’s obesity league, and as numbers continue to rise to worrying levels, the country cannot afford this uptick in the obese population. 

Obesity is categorised as abnormally high levels of fat in a person’s body. Healthcare practitioners and clinicians measure weight health with the body mass index (BMI), a calculation of weight and height that places them in a category between underweight and morbidly obese, and waist circumference. If a person’s BMI is higher than 27, they will fall under the classification of ‘overweight’, and if it is over 30, they are classed as obese. Alarmingly, the UK government’s recent statistics show that 25.9% of adults in the UK are currently obese, and almost three quarters of those aged 45-74 are overweight or obese. 

These levels are a significant portion of the country’s workforce.

We believe it is crucial for employers to recognize the impact of obesity and related weight health problems on their workforce, with the outlook of taking proactive measures to address this issue. With obesity rates rising, as does the risk of medical complications thanks to weight health. The negative impact of obesity on health cannot be ignored, and it is imperative for workplaces to prioritize the health and well-being of their employees.

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How does Obesity impact the Workforce?

Obesity significantly affects weight health, leading to various physical and mental health problems. Individuals living with obesity are at a higher risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. These health issues not only affect the well-being of employees but also increase absenteeism, reduce productivity, and contribute to workplace accidents. 

Risk of the development of medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer all increase in people living with obesity. In particular, several studies have seen that obesity has a higher link to cancer risk than smoking, as it has been found to be the underlying cause in up to 8% of all cancer cases. 

Specifically, obesity is linked to cancer in the liver, gallbladder, bowel, breasts, kidney, and pancreas among others, each of them scary and each of them with a high enough risk of mortality when caught at later stages.

Obesity has more everyday links to overall physical health; carrying excess weight places higher stress on joints, causing chronic pain and increased risk of arthritis. Obesity contributes to the damage of soft tissue as well as increasing pressure on the hips and the knees, with studies showing people with obesity are 20 times more likely to need a knee replacement than those at a healthy weight. This increased stress and pressure has the potential to escalate the numbers and severity of workplace injuries, leading to sick leave and even compensatory pay outs.

Every day health is affected obesity by the high incidences of sleep disturbances that it causes, which can contribute to a whole host of other risk factors in health. This is due to the fact that a lack of sleep is linked to depletions in our immune systems, increasing likelihood of illnesses – another contributor to increased sickness days and lack of productivity.

All this being said, obesity is not a problem that can be fixed particularly easily. It’s not like improving posture at workstations, it has to be approached with delicacy and sensitivity due to its close links with mental health and self-confidence.

Negative body image and low self-esteem often accompany weight gain, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and decreased quality of life. Mental health can cause weight gain too, so this becomes a toxic circle that can be very difficult to escape from, making people living with obesity feel alone and cornered, struggling to break away.

How does Obesity impact Employers?

Thanks to the abundance of health issues that come with obesity, employers can be impacted by increased sick leave and absences in the short term and in the long term, impacting productivity, work culture, and ultimately profits.

However, the relationship between weight health and work is deeply intertwined, both causing and worsening one another. Shift work, sedentary jobs, and unhealthy lifestyle choices due to energy levels post-work can all contribute to weight gain, while obesity, in turn, affects work performance and productivity. 

Moreover, the stigma surrounding obesity can result in discrimination and prejudice in the workplace, further exacerbating mental health issues, worsening work environments, and impacting overall productivity.

What should Employers do?

Employers could play a crucial role in addressing obesity and promoting weight health among their employees without exacerbating the mental toll that comes with obesity. By taking positive and proactive measures, employers can help reduce the economic burden of obesity and create a healthier, productive workforce.

Ideas to consider:

Eliminate weight-based stigma: Employers should strive to create an inclusive and non-stigmatizing work environment. Language and communication should focus on promoting overall well-being rather than singling out individuals based on their weight. Emphasizing the contributions that all employees can make to the company irrespective of their weight can foster a positive and supportive atmosphere.

Offer occupational health to target obesity: Employers can partner with occupational health providers who offer comprehensive medical weight management programmes to employees. These programs include medically supervised weight loss therapies, such as revolutionary GLP-1 injectable treatments, along with personalized support and guidance from healthcare professionals. 

Studies have shown overall positive responses to individualised weight loss programmes provided by employers, and receiving personalised services from occupational health providers ensures employees can receive the help they need no matter where they work or what they do. 

Promote awareness and education: Employers can raise awareness about the impact of obesity on health and well-being through educational campaigns and workshops. Providing information on healthy eating habits, physical activity, and the benefits of weight management can empower employees to make informed choices. This can also nudge them towards approaching occupational health within the workplace to aid their weight loss goals, without feeling embarrassed or ashamed.

Addressing obesity as an important concern for employers not only benefits the health and well-being of employees but also has positive implications for productivity, absenteeism, and overall workplace performance. By prioritizing weight health and implementing supportive measures, employers can contribute to a healthier workforce and a more prosperous future.

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

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How Specialist Occupational Health can Alleviate Risks for Employers

Here at Bodyline, we are the official medical wellness partners of several Occupational Health providers in the UK, offering our services to those who are referred to us by their employers.

We have over 17 years of experience aiding in weight health management and have found that ground breaking GLP-1 weight loss injections can be an incredibly beneficial medication for managing weight health in adults across the spectrum of careers. The treatments we offer contain substances that aid in appetite control, metabolism regulation, and fat breakdown by helping users remain in a calorie deficit, dulling hunger pangs and ensuring the body doesn’t overeat and overconsume. These therapies are exclusively used as part of a comprehensive weight loss programme and administered under the guidance of healthcare professionals.

The ever-popular results of GLP-1 injectable weight loss therapies could be potentially game-changing for obesity levels in the workforce, as some medications have been seen to lead to an average 15% weight loss in clinical trials, surpassing the advised 5-10% weight loss previously mentioned. 

While the NHS has the potential to help, long wait lists and limited supply can impact their ability to prescribe medical weight loss treatments to all who would benefit from it. It’s also worth noting that this would be at the cost of taxpayers, thus increasing the cost to the economy. 

By partnering with occupational health providers who offer the services of Bodyline, workplaces can provide comprehensive support to employees who want to make use of these programmes, with the goal of ultimately ridding their workforce of obesity and its subsequent health complications.

Don’t just take our word for it. The British Safety Council advises employers that weight management programmes should be offered to employees! However, it is vital they do not contribute to the stigmatisation of individuals living with obesity. Language and tact should be considered to eliminate weight-based stigma and emphasize the contribution that all employees can make to the company and wider economy, as well as the benefits to their personal health.

Weight-management programmes in work that are non-stigmatising and voluntary can provide the final push for successful weight loss.If you or your employer would benefit from these programmes, why not get in touch with our customer service team today to find out how Bodyline has been helping over 100,000 clients reach their wellness goals.

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