It’s no secret that America, as a nation, is becoming less healthy and more obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports this statement. In 2011, 37% of Americans were obese. That’s a staggering 70 million obese Americans. This complex personal problem has become one that is quite literally weighing on the collective conscience and pocketbook of the nation. The impact of obesity and obesity related illness costs American employers $73 billion extra in medical related spending.
Between the years 1980 and 2000 time spent sitting down increased by 8%. I am convinced that as we lose our manufacturing identity (employees were very active for 8hrs a day), morphing into more of a desk and service driven economy, employees will become victims of the convenient and seductive virtual highway. As a result a sedentary lifestyle takes hold.
Like a hangman’s noose, technology is choking the life out of America’s worker. While tethered to the desk upwards of 50 hours a week, the average worker no longer needs to get up to deliver a memo, attend a meeting, or even give a presentation. While we sit on our rear-end and Tweet, Skype, and watch funny YouTube videos our productivity plummets as our waistlines expand.
Advocating for personal responsibility, the team at Hybrid Athlete believes employees need to embrace the Do Work mentality to become healthier. However, we also recognize the challenges that come as part of committing to a healthy lifestyle. That being said, it is important to create and enact a comprehensive and multi tiered prevention programs targeting America’s number one preventable health crisis; the obesity epidemic.
Here are a few initiatives employers and employees can initiate immediately to address our growing problem.
For the Employer
- Sponsor or subsidize health club memberships.
- Find a healthy foods vendor for the vending machines and cafeteria
- Partner with a local farmers market and allow the market to use space on your campus or in front of your building. Discounts for all company employees in trade for free space.
- Allow national weight loss programs to be held on site.
- Recognize and reward healthy behaviors, maybe a local sporting goods store will want to give you discounted gift cards.
For the Employee
- Every hour get up and stretch and walk. (Depending on your size and shape you can burn up to 280 calories standing two hours.)
- Make a rule to stand during conference or phone calls
- Create a policy if your email is longer than a paragraph you will get up and walk and talk to person 2-3 floors up.
- If you pack lunch at least 3 times a week do not pack processed or sugary drinks.
- For your hour lunch walk for 30 minutes, when it is too hot outside walk the escalator in the air-conditioned office building.
We are inspired everyday by families and individuals who make small changes that have significant impacts on society. Take action to inspire action in others.
Joe is a writer, trainer and fitness entrepreneur who co-founded Hybrid Athlete LLC, Kettlebell Cardio™ and Race Day Domination. Currently building @fittinsider, a platform for founders, executives, & investors redefining fitness/wellness. Investing in health/fitness companies