Obesity continues to be a growing problem for the American population. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) one in three Americans are obese and an additional 40% of the population has a body mass index high enough to be considered overweight. Not only is obesity a major public health concern, but it also created challenges in almost every aspect of life. The CDC notes that rising obesity rates have huge financial implication on the U.S. health care system, causing strain on the country’s medical resources with an estimated financial impact of over $147 billion a year and rising. Employers also experience the negative impacts of an overweight workforce, from increased insurance costs, and legislative changes to decreased productivity and employee performance challenges.
According to a recent study released by Virginia Tech as part of an ongoing investigation into the effects of obesity in the workplace, researchers found that not only do overweight workers fatigue more easily they often need assistance and support preforming traditional job functions. Obesity is associated with many physiological changes including decreased muscular performance and reduced blood flow capacity. Inhibition on the blood and oxygen circulatory systems can cause a number of physical challenges and can lead to a faster onset of fatigue for repetitive activities such as those required in many workplaces. Workers who are obese often need to take extended and more frequent breaks before carrying out their everyday tasks and job functions. Obesity has become a mounting problem particularly in warehouse, manufacturing, construction and other industries where physical performance is vital to workflow and productivity.
Based on their findings, the Virginia Tech research suggest that employers may need to consider adding additional fixtures and supports to their current infrastructure to help ease the fatigue found among overweight and obese workers. Researcher as still investigating the full effects of obesity on the a workforce but many healthcare industry professionals note that overweight workers are more likely to have health complications which can culminate in missed work days and even increase the likelihood of workplace accidents. The CDC notes that employers have a unique opportunity to help inspire healthy habits among their workers by establishing various health and wellness programs that educate employees about nutrition, exercise and wellness. These programs can often prove mutually beneficial to workers and employers as healthier workers are often more productive and less of a liability. It can even help reduce CT workers comp claims and overall healthcare overage premiums.
At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management we understand that managing workplace safety, health and wellness are keys to a successful business. Our Risk Safeguard AdvantageTMsystem was borne out of a philosophy that combines personalized and unique risk management strategies with human resources consulting and training to provide measurable, sustainable results. Our risk management services include workplace accident investigation programs, safety seminars, workplace wellness, and more to help minimize your Workers Compensation risk exposures and manage claims as they arise. To find out more about any of our offerings, give us a call today at (877) 602-2305.