May 29, 2008 — Employers and employees both say the workplace is an appropriate setting for responding to weight-management issues, according to new research by the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.
Lead NORC researchers said the survey findings demonstrate willingness to and a desire for help. Across the board, all employees — including people who are average weight, overweight, and obese — exhibited a strong desire for weight-management help from their employers.
They also indicated a willingness to pay more for various workplace weight-loss options, including exercise programs and nutritional counseling. Employers also acknowledged their role in providing obesity prevention and management options for their employees.
The STOP survey showed:
• 71 percent of employers view offering obesity-related services as appropriate;
• 80 percent of employees, regardless of weight, agree healthy lifestyles/weight management programs belong in the workplace;
• 73 percent of employers view offering obesity-related services as effective;
• 67 percent of employers are concerned about the effects of obesity on medical claims expenses;
• 93 percent of employers see obesity as a preventable condition and the result of poor lifestyle choices;
• Less than half of employers believe their company has given enough attention to the problem of obesity.
Source: Stop Obesity Alliance, www.stopobesityalliance.org