A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. More employers are instilling weight loss and wellness programs into the office to help employees shed excess pounds and get healthy. Studies confirm this strategy has positive effects on a company's productivity and bottom line.
A study conducted at Tufts University found that employees who completed a workplace weight loss program along with behavioral counseling lost, on average, 18 pounds over a six-month period. The program featured a reduced-calorie diet, along with weekly sessions with a health counselor for menu planning, dealing with stress, avoiding emotional eating and tips for controlling hunger.
Fewer Health Problems
Weight loss wasn't the only benefit experienced by those who completed the Tufts University study. Study participants also made significant improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels, all common markers for diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk. Fewer health problems means fewer medications and doctor visits down the line.
Convenience and Support
Many people find that with a busy work schedule, there is simply not enough time to devote to a separate weight loss program. "Offices are really wonderful settings for weight loss groups," says Sai Krupa Das, a scientist at the Tufts University Energy Metabolism Laboratory. "Co-workers have established relationships, creating an automatic support system and level of comfort. There is also the benefit of not having to set aside as much additional time for weight management. It can be built right into the work day."
Workplace health programs offer employees another reason to remain loyal to their company. Almost half of employees surveyed by Principal Financial stated that the offering of a workplace health program would keep them from leaving their job. "As wellness programs become more established in the workplace, we are seeing a growing number of employees appreciate – and expect – that their employer offer these benefits," says Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company.
Employees who are enrolled in workplace health programs are more energetic and more motivated to work harder, both on the treadmill and at the desk. Employees who actively participate in these programs also miss fewer days of work, resulting in better attendance and productivity.
The Tufts University study involved handing out weight loss information and other materials to employees who were not participating in the study. This led to an overall positive effect on the entire workplace, with non-participants also seeing weight loss and health benefits. "Based on our results, it seemed the weight loss intervention became embedded in the office culture," says Susan B. Roberts, co-author of the study.
It is common knowledge that an unhealthy employee is an unproductive employee. Workplace weight loss programs offer employees a highly convenient way to manage their weight loss and improve their health and energy levels, both in and out of the office. In today's competitive economy, many companies rely on smaller staffs to handle large workloads, so motivating employees to work harder and be more productive is essential.
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