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Weight-Loss Programs for Employees: Do They Work?

Posted Oct 02 2008 3:12pm

Note from Connie: Given that you want (I assume) to learn about lots of interesting info, tips, studies, etc. I've now brought on another blog researcher/writer, Gerry Pugliese, to lighten my load. What's really cool about having several writers is each of us brings our own writing style, opinions and personality. Here is Gerry's first lively entry.

With so many Americans working long hours at sedentary jobs—and no doubt downing endless cups of coffee and bags of chips—workplace diet and fitness programs have become common.

In fact, as the New York Times tells us, as far back as 1993 businesses, big and small, began getting serious about employee health initiatives. They were lured by the concept of preventive medicine -- i.e., healthy, fit, lean and mean workers don’t get sick, thereby saving companies tons of healthcare dollars.

Has it worked? Clearly, no!

Just take a look at our soaring rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Obviously something’s quite wrong, but according to a new study, which Reuters alerted us to, workplace weight-loss programs do help people slim down -- well, kind of.

"The programs are helpful for at least short-term, modest weight loss in people who actually participate in them," Dr. Michael Benedict of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine told Reuters.

But researchers have doubts as to how many people stick with the program and keep off the weight. The other concern is getting people who really need these programs to participate in them.

In fact, as Dr. Benedict points out, the people these programs most often recruit are already, as he puts it, “Doing the right thing.”

Tell you what, next time someone brings a tray of cookies into your office, look around. Chances are “doing the right thing” takes a backseat to double chocolate-chip triple-frosted cookies—what do you think?

Gerry Pugliese for the SUGAR SHOCK! Blog

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