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Online Workplace Obesity Prevention Program Launched by CDC

Posted Aug 27 2009 11:37pm

The Centers for Disease Control has just launched LeanWorks, an online obesity prevention program that employers can use to help trim their workers’ waistlines.

It’s no secret, Americans are getting fatter and fatter and sicker and sicker because of it.  Employers are worried about the nation’s fat epidemic because, as the LeanWorks site points out “Obese persons spend 77% more money for necessary medications than non-obese persons.” The site also advises that it is not just the mega corporations that can help employees slim down:  “Many types of organizations, including those with few employees and resources, are implementing successful obesity prevention programs.”

Losing weight is one of the toughest things to do, especially in a society where we are constantly assailed by advertisements for, and opportunities to eat, delicious fatty foods.  Since most workers spend about 65% of their time at work, it makes perfect sense for employers to step up to the plate and try to help their staffers exercise more and eat a more healthful diet.

Being overweight isn’t just a matter of self esteem.  Those extra pounds can lead to  chronic conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and certain types of cancer.  But even losing a small amount of weight can translate to big health gains.  For example, as the Lean Works site says, “Lifestyle changes that bring about 5% to 7% loss in body weight can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes for people at high risk for the disease.”  And regular physical activity, which is usually a cornerstone of weight loss, can reduce a person’s risk of heart attack, certain cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Likewise, eating more fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

Lean Works scores points not just because it’s waving those nasty statistics about obesity at us.  The site also has some inspiring case studies and useful tools to help companies start building their own obesity prevention programs, such as guides to use when interviewing managers and a check list for evaluating a work site.

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