Most Workers Are Delusional About How Overweight They Are
Few would deny that America is battling an obesity epidemic. And as a response, employers are responding; more are launching wellness programs and providing overweight workers with financial incentives to get healthier.
But a new survey suggests that the problem lies in recognition: many American workers are downright delusional about how overweight they are. The survey of 1,000 workers at 2,800 companies found that a whopping 87 percent thought their health was at least "good"; only 23 percent said they considered themselves "overweight" or "obese," according to the survey conducted by Aon Hewitt, the Illinois-based human resources consulting firm, in conjunction with the National Business Group on Health and The Futures Co.
Why is that delusional? Government statistics shows that 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight or obese, and consistent with that, 66 percent of the workers surveyed reported height and weight measurements that indicated they were at least overweight, notes CFO.com, the news site aimed at financial executives.
What are the implications of this apparent skinny mirror that workers stare into? The issue boils down to "dollars and cents," Helen Darling, the CEO of the NBGH, says. "When we have unrealistic views of our health, we don't necessarily take the right actions to be healthier. In the long run, that will affect companies' finances."
If workers don't see themselves as overweight, for example, they're not likely to take advantage of the discounts on gym memberships that employers subsidize. It's probably a lot of wasted money, she says.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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