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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

How to Help Employees Get Healthy

Thomas B Gilliam
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thomas B Gilliam
Sure you’d like your employees to drop a few pounds. It’s no secret that an overweight work force is a liability, thanks to the skyrocketing health insurance costs, increased absences and lower productivity that come with excess pounds. It’s just too risky to broach such a sensitive subject with your employees . . . isn’t it?

Not if you approach the issue correctly. Not only can you cut your healthcare costs, you can also get your employees excited about getting healthy and staying that way.

A Wall Street Journal article reported that an obese employee costs General Motors about $1,500 more in health services each year compared to an employee with a healthy body weight. It also said that when you consider that about 26 percent of GM’s active workers are obese, the problem is costing the company nearly $1.4 billion more in healthcare each year.

Another article, in the Chicago Tribune, stated that big companies have seen per-worker healthcare costs increase by more than 80 percent just since 2000. When you consider the fact that over 60 percent of the work force is either overweight or obese, you have to assume that weight is a big part of the problem. There is no denying that getting your employees to slim down can result in significant savings for your company.

Perhaps not. But there’s a huge gulf between knowing employees need to lose weight and “making” them lose it. That’s why corporations hire experts to design and implement wellness programs.


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