According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 2.3 billion people who are overweight in the world, with 700 million of these individuals considered to be obese (WHO, 2013). This is a serious threat to the general populace as being overweight or obese has a complex impact on an individual’s health, with painful and expensive implications for those afflicted.
In 2015, the World Health Organization announced that noncommunicable diseases such as obesity are largely preventable. The objective of fighting obesity is to achieve energy balance and many organizations are making large efforts to bring the problem under control rather than creating a cure.
The Global strategy on diet, physical activity, and health encourage and support the privet food industry and sporting goods to:
According to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decease Overweight and Obesity, workplaces offer a unique opportunity to promote behavior change and adoption of healthier lifestyles (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2010).
In many ways, workplaces are to adults what schools are to children since most working-age adults spend a substantial portion of their waking hours there. Nearly a quarter of the lives of working adults are spent at work and many of the associated job-related pressures like long work hours, shift work, time demands, and job stress negatively affect lifestyle and behavior patterns. This includes eating habits and activity levels, which, in turn, may lead to weight gain and obesity.
Employers, unlike health plans, tend to have long-term relationships with their employees and thus have more reason to improve workers’ health, since these improvements are likely to pay off in the end. Additionally, the duration of interventions can be longer, thus increasing the likelihood that healthy habits are adopted, and workers accrue benefits from their behavior change. (Cawley, 2011)
At the workplace, health and productivity goals can be set by management. Unlike other actors (what word of you mean here?) in the health care marketplace (e.g, hospitals, device manufacturers, insurers, pharmaceutical firms, and doctors), employers have a strong incentive for keeping their workers healthy and fit because doing otherwise is likely to led to increased health care utilization, decrements in on-the-job productivity, more safety incidents, and low morale (Cawley, 2011).
Taking a full lunch can be viewed as a sacrifice of time, but skipping lunch is a mental sacrifice all its own (Luckerson, 2015).
“From a productivity standpoint, there are diminishing marginal returns when you ask your brain to exert constant effort to an eight-hour day,” says Dr. Janet Scarborough Civitelli, a workplace psychologist at VocationVillage.com, “When workers skip a lunch break on a regular basis, they often don’t realize that fatigue and burnout are creeping up on them until they wake up one day and ‘suddenly’ feel less enthusiastic about their jobs or businesses” (CNN, 2015).