According to a new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the number of obese individuals in America has overtaken the number of people who are overweight. The study’s authors, from Washington University’s Prevention Research Center, estimate 67.6 million Americans over the age of 25 are obese, with an additional 65.2 million who are overweight. (For more information, see a summary of the study on LATimes.com.)
A spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta suggests its own interpretation of similar data shows that rates of obesity and overweight have stabilized in recent years. It all depends on how you slice the data.
What we all can agree on, however, is that a person who is overweight or obese (and there are many in America) is at increased risk for all kinds of chronic conditions. Type 2 diabetes and heart disease top the list. Weighing too much also increases the risk of certain cancers. And the more an individual weighs, the greater the risk.
The authors of this most recent study are calling for policies and practices that will combat overweight and obesity. This is similar to the work Lockton’s Health Risk Solutions® Consultants perform every day to help employer-clients who are looking for ways to improve the health of their employees by developing strategies and wellness initiatives. It’s not a simple task and there’s no single solution – not for employers or for our nation.
While it would be exciting for our government to step in and save the day with clear and effective policies, employers have the opportunity to begin making a difference now. By implementing programs that improve their employees’ health and well-being, they also begin to reduce their healthcare costs. In such a scenario, everyone wins.
If you’d like more information on how you can begin to address the challenge of overweight and obese employees in your organization, please click to read The Employer’s Guide to Combatting Obesity in the Workplace.
We also invite you to contact your Lockton Account Team or your Health Risk Solutions Consultant.