Most Workers Are Delusional About How Overweight They Are

overweight workers

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.

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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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I Was So Overweight I Would Suffocate When I Laid Down




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Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

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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bartandyc

Sounds like some ceo's are dillusional.

January 24 2013 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tjburkee

A lot of people are over weight that is true. But the BMI for determining who is obese is worthless. Anybody with a muscular or athletic build will show up as obese on the BMI. We should have a better method of determing who is obese and what is norman weight than the BMI for a started. It would save millions and give a more accurate picture of obesity.

January 24 2013 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
William Cohan

My theory is that america's inflexible 8 hours in a row work day has forced corporate america to get fat. Lets do the math, sit in a chair for 8 hours a day, for multiple years, and by the time you are middle aged (with a metabolic rate severely declined), you will indeed be out of shape. Even if you can manage to work out for an hour at night (when you dont feel like it), the hour does not fix the 8 hours you sat in a chair. It is the 8 hours in a row work day that does not allow us the option to stay in shape. If we could work from home and scatter our 8 hours throughout the day and night, people inclined to stay in shape would at least have a fighting chance.

January 24 2013 at 8:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shadow3545

Gotta agree with Shannon on this one. Foods that are healthy for you are also 2 to 3 times more expensive then the prepackaged stuff you can buy at the store. Another thing I hate is that the last time I checked the standard "healthy" body weight is like 100 lbs for a 5'0 person and for every inch taller you add 5 pounds. I'm sorry but WHO THE HELL thought up that kind of a standard metric? I won't say that I'm a fit person because I know I could stand to lose weight but, these "Ideal body weight" numbers are insane. By their standards I should have trouble getting out of bed on a daily basis because I'm so "obese" or that i should have serious health problems. I think we need to redesign what we judge as a healthy body weight before we start throwing stones. I mean how lone has this been the stnadard? 20 years? With all the health and fitness crap people spew you'd think they would make sure to retest theories to make sure they still hold true.

January 24 2013 at 8:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shadow3545's comment
Elaeblue

I agree - the height/weight chart said I was obese.. after losing only 10 pounds I was then considered still overweight.........I only weighed 110 pounds and am 5" tall.. when I did lose down to the 100 pounds I felt ill all the time and listless with little energy..yeah- cause I was then told by my doctor that I probably could stand to gain 10 pounds.......wth?
I think a lot of the 66% of people considered overweight are just like me... not really overweight but perhaps not in as good of shape as they should be. Of course there are overweight people and I wish them luck with losing those pounds ( its not easy) and hope they do and that they feel better and do better in their lives but realistically some of us are not as fat as they make us out to be.

January 24 2013 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich

These stories of people who are massively obese who then lose all this weight are great stories, but they miss the bigger point. When I watched the video, I found it ironic that the woman hosting the segment is overweight. She isn't obese, and I won't even call her fat, because she looks presentable and even attractive, but the fact is that she too is overweight. Most people just don't get it.

January 24 2013 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shannon

Why don't employers focus on paying people a living wage so they don't have to choose between rent and buying healthier food options. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very expensive. Every time I splurge for them I end up with buyer's remorse at check out.

January 23 2013 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cboowillie

I thought it would be about "Keeping" their jobs...the way this country is being ruined...oh I mean runned!!!

January 23 2013 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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