Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

A corporate solution.

July 8, 2011

Yesterday’s blog post has been weighing heavily on my mind (pun intended).  With obesity on the rise and much of our workforce in a seated position for 12+ hours a day (commute, work, TV watching), it has become imperative that companies, both large and small, take note and make critical changes to improve lives of their workers.

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are obese spend almost $1,500 more each year on health care — about 41 percent more than an average-weight person.  In addition, more than 75 percent of health care spending is related to chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, obesity and respiratory conditions, many of which are preventable.

A few years ago, ABC New’s 20/20 division followed obesity expert Dr. Levine, of Mayo Clinic, during one of his studies. Dr. Levine installed treadmills in a Minneapolis-based financial firm for 6 months and workers were instructed to walk through the workday instead of sit at their desks–even at 1mph, the results were astonishing: workers lost a total of 200 pounds! According to his research, Levine says low-level activity is crucial to fighting chronic obesity.

Clearly it’s expensive and a bit far-fetched to install treadmills for every worker in every office setting. However, after losing big money each year due to preventable workplace health deterioration, more and more companies are offering their employees discounts on gym memberships, installing fitness centers in the workplace and encouraging healthier lifestyles.

A lawfirm in Columbus, Ohio, was recognized by UnitedHealth Group for it’s outstanding benefits to employees.  Bricker & Eckler LLP offers a wide variety of wellness services to address health risks, including an onsite exercise facility with personal training support, health fairs, biometric screenings and immunizations. The company also offers positive-parenting classes, yoga and self-defense courses, and a smoking-cessation program.

They are not alone in offering incentive-based benefits to employees. More businesses are adopting wellness programs as a way to improve employee health and productivity, reduce absenteeism, build teamwork within the organization, and better manage health care costs. Wellness Councils of America estimates that a $1 investment in a comprehensive wellness program saves an average of $3 in health care costs.

A client of mine told me that her department has implemented “email-free Fridays.” Should you have a question for a co-worker, instead of shooting off several emails, you are required to walk down the hall to get your answer in-person. There is less back-and-forth, more social interaction and a new-found efficiency.  Plus, it cuts out the need for treadmills, doesn’t it?

I’m ashamed, America! No more excuses!

July 7, 2011

I just read the most disturbing article.

According to an annual report entitled, “F as in Fat,” from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, only one state in the U.S. has an obesity rate of less than 20%: Colorado (19.8%). So one in every five is obese…and it’s our THINNEST STATE!  On the other hand, more than one-third of Mississippi’s population is obese!  Read on:

“Today, the state with the lowest adult obesity rate would have had the highest rate in 1995,” said Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health.

Four years ago, only one U.S. state had an adult obesity rate above 30 percent, according to the report, which defines adult obesity as a having a body mass index — a weight-to-height ratio — of 30 or more.

Didn’t anybody read the memo?!  What’s it going to take? Our bodies were designed to move!

Despite the many initiatives taken on in recent years to fight obesity, including Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and Shaq’s Big Challenge, it’s clear our country is still going in the wrong direction.

As a trainer, this alarming trend sends shivers down my spine.  With large corporations targeting our kids with the latest sugary and overly processed crap-called-food, an entire generation is being misled. These food and beverage companies say consumers have the right to choose what they eat and should balance their caloric intake with activity, but I’m sorry to say, no amount of exercise can overtake a bad diet. If everyone knew the truth about the ‘food’ industry, they’d be wary, too…just because the FDA approves a product, doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat! (Seriously...)

And it’s no wonder people don’t want to work out: serving sizes are enormous!  During a recent trip to an Olive Garden, I couldn’t believe the size of my neighbor’s creamy pasta plate as it came out of the kitchen! Not one vegetable in sight: I’d feel sluggish, too! Forget the evening stroll, I’d just want to pass out in front of the TV! Empty calories are just that.

Want more energy?  Move your body every single day. Stop making up excuses. Energy doesn’t come from a pill, a supplement or an overly-caffeinated sugary drink. It’s all natural, and earned every day in the form of tough workouts.

Stupid diets and cleanses do not promote permanent weight loss. By consistently being nice to your body (feeding it real food, working it hard and allowing it those 8 hours of sleep), you’ll feel the best you’ve ever felt.  Trust me.

Know someone who’s climbing the obesity ladder? Be a friend, not an enabler.