At Vanderbilt University preparations for Weight Watchers at Work meetings are taking place. The meetings are set to begin on August 26th. Faculty and staff are invited to attend and they are being provided with incentives to join. Weight Watchers has a unique program for weight loss for businesses to use to benefit their employees.
Some business owners may think this is crazy considering the current economic situation in the nation. However, with health care costs soaring and often unreachable, the Weight Watchers at Work program can benefit not just employees, but also the business.
Weight Watchers provides specific information on this program on their website. The goal is to make businesses aware that caring for their employees’ health and weight, they can actually save money. Two out of 3 people in the United States is considered overweight or obese and their medical costs are higher than for employees who are at average weight. Businesses are carrying the bulk of the costs associated with obesity. For example, a person who has a body mass index (or BMI) of 27 (considered overweight) has medical care costs for the company at $6, 822 as compared to $4,496 compared to an average person. The costs go up as the BMI increases.
Other costs include the 39 million lost work days a year, 230 million restricted-activity days a year, 90 million bedrest days a year, and 63 million physician office visits a year. These numbers are all obesity related. This costs businesses valuable time and money. Weight Watchers at Work is a program that aims to reduce these numbers and provide businesses a valuable service.
The impact of absenteeism and disability from obesity related complications is an issue all businesses, large and small, cannot ignore. Complications from obesity include high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, and heart disease. Certain types of cancer are also related to obesity. It has been found that when people together at work begin weight loss programs, the potential for keeping the weight off is much greater.
Weight Watchers works in four ways: science-based eating plan, behavior modification, regular activity, and group support at weekly meetings. Employees who eat healthy together, who exercise together, and who support each other are more likely to lose at least 5% of their weight and build strategies to either keep on losing or maintain the weight lost. Interestingly enough, it has been found through studies that as physical fitness increased in workplaces, quantity and quality of work increased as well. Even just beginning a program and employees taking off just a little bit of weight is a terrific start.
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