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Engaging Employees To Win The Battle Against Obesity

Engaging Employees to Win the Battle Against Obesity

Topics like weight loss are often considered sensitive topics in any office environment, and are often discussed in hushed tones and often not raised against employees. While weight loss is not openly discussed as professional requirement, this issue should be taken seriously by every professional working in an organization. There are a number of reasons why losing weight should be part of personal and professional development program of every employee and the reason isn’t just about one’s health. Aside from the potential effects on different body organs in the form of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, joint problems, sleep apnea and cancer, it can also have psychosocial effects leading to diminished productivity.

And for many employees, the psychosocial effects are equally troubling, and these can also put everyone at a disadvantage. As an employer who wants to maximize its human resource potential, it’s critical to engage and inspire employees to take the ground fight the complex problem called obesity. The great news is that there are creative Human Resources programs and policies that can inspire employees to take action.

Behavioural interventions in the office 
Behavioural interventions including an aggressive educational drive in the office can help disseminate information and inspire employees into taking action. This can refer to a comprehensive program that can start from pre-screening of potential employees to actual training. The employee hiring program can be improved to include health screening not to discriminate but to inform and provide potential employees with information on their health standing. The Human Resource professional can take the lead in screening employees, and providing behavioural interventions so employees are aware and will act on the problem. Also, the provision of educational materials in the form of nutritional posters and fitness recommendations can be posted in strategic locations within the work area. If these announcements and reminders are in their sight, definitely these will always be on their minds.
Employee lifestyle modification 
A more persistent option for employers is to draft an employee lifestyle modification program that encourages action. The program can include the promotion of daily or weekly exercises in the workplace and the provision of mini-gyms or exercise centers within the office where employees can exercise on designated time. And to make the program holistic, managers can influence the office cafeteria selections to ensure compliance among employees. Also, the vending machines can be stuffed with healthy food and beverage options, the same program now used in school canteens across the United States.
Offices can also link up with wellness centers to come up with wellness programs that can cater to individual health and wellness requirements. By partnering with a wellness or weight loss clinic, the organization can have access to industry specialists who understand weight loss who can customize the program. Diet and weight loss clinics can also provide employees with wellness supplements and professional advice when it comes to weight loss. And with a professional partner in tow, the organization can focus its energy into other programs that matter.
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on March 7, 2015
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