Fighting Obesity Is Good for Business

At a cost of $147 billion annually, fighting obesity is important to our society – but can it also be good for your business? According to wellness guru Dr. Michael Roizen, “Losing waist is the best deficit reduction and job creation program.” There are tremendous success stories out there: Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California lost 250,000 pounds, while Cleveland Clinic employees have lost over 400,000 pounds!

So what makes for a successful corporate wellness campaign? Here are some key elements to consider.

  • Some 80% of conference attendees believe that online methods, especially social networking, are critical to corporate wellness success. Encouraging members to post their progress online and promote it via their social networks creates a culture of healthy living. Experts agree: Healthy choices need to be addressed from both a personal and social perspective.
  • Focus on overall health and healthy choices, rather than just weight loss, as sustainable behavioral change is the most important piece of changing someone’s healthy future. Fear – like threats of a heart attack or diabetes – is not a good motivator, as fear wanes over time. Instead, tailor your intervention based on the individual’s motivation for wanting to lose weight: Maybe it’s to improve attractiveness, or to fight diabetes, or to just be able to chase their grandchildren around the yard. If you are committed to a successful corporate health program, then you need to start with why.
  • Give participants multiple ways to engage with your healthy living program. Online tools, mobile apps, face-to-face meetings, and even religious groups are all valid channels for connection and should be encouraged.
  • Cultural change is critical; you need an environment that expects, supports, and sustains employee (and their families’) health. Dr. Roizen recommended incentives as a strategy to reward employees; the Clinic is famous for offering small amounts of compensation and health insurance discounts for healthy employees.

What is it going to take for corporate health and wellness to succeed in your corporation? Please comment below on whether you think the above suggestions would work at your business. What did I miss?


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