Myths about Obesity in the Workplace

Myths about Obesity in the Workplace

By: Dr. Linda Anegawa

Many employers view Hawaii’s obesity problem as entirely separate from their businesses.  This is a risky proposition, as problems related to weight and weight-related illnesses can in fact be quite harmful to a company’s growth.


study by researchers at Duke University tabulated that obesity-related absenteeism and presenteeism cost U.S. employers $73 billion annually. Another study measured that while normal-weight employees cost on average $3,838 per year in health are costs, overweight to morbidly obese employees cost between $4,252 and $8,067. Each additional body mass index (BMI) point above normal weight costs $194-$222 per year per employee.  When you add that all up, it’s staggering.


Why do businesses fail to address obesity amongst their employees?  Bruce Y. Lee in Forbes lists 7 myths that deter companies from taking an interest in obesity.  He states:

“Why should employers care about obesity…as long as revenues are “fat” and costs are “lean?” Many myths still exist about the growing global obesity epidemic and, like doughnuts, have major holes. These myths, in turn, may be keeping employers from addressing what is becoming a major problem for businesses. “


Read his 7 Myths here:

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