Employers Can Help Reduce Obesity Rates Among Workers, Report Finds
California employers can help reduce obesity among workers by offering healthier food choices and improving access to physical activity in the workplace, according to a Department of Health Services report, the Stockton Record reports. The report, "Fruits and Vegetables and Physical Activity at the Worksite: Business Leaders and Working Women Speak Out on Access and Environment," found that more business leaders are concerned about tobacco use than employee obesity and diet and exercise habits. The report also found that 50% of business leaders said that programs to promote good health -- most commonly flu vaccinations, health screenings and health fairs -- were available at their workplaces. "The investment doesn't even need to be an expensive one. It can be as simple as replacing candy bowls with bowls of fresh fruit, raisins or packets of dried fruit," Desiree Backman, manager of DHS' California 5-A-Day Campaign, which promotes healthy lifestyle choices, said. Each year, obesity-related medical expenses cost the state $7.7 billion, more than any other state, according to CDC. For employers, those costs include increased absenteeism, loss of productivity and higher medical bills (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 2/9). The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the report.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.