According to a recent study supported by the American Heart Association, about one in 10 obese people don’t feel like they need to lose weight.
The Dallas Heart Study also found that half of the obese study participants thought they were in better health than other people their age, which, in reality, was a false perception.
These misconceptions can be deadly: Obesity has been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression, and death. (If you’re not sure what measurement is categorized as obese, check out our BMI calculator).
Obesity is also an important issue in the workplace: Nationally, obesity accounts for nearly 10% of what the United States spends annually on health care, and health care spending on obese employees increased by 80% from 2001 to 2006.
Health care costs for obesity, and related diseases like hypertension and heart disease, will reach around $344 billion in 2018 if the trend continues.
While there is no quick fix for obesity, simple, everyday reminders and encouragement can help employees work toward a more healthy lifestyle. Wall and tabletop posters, and motivational tools like the Walking for My Wii™ program can help employees move more and maintain dietary goals starting today.
Here’s what the American Heart Association recommends for daily diet and exercise guidelines:
Diet: Start by knowing how many calories should be consumed in a day. Keep track of food and calories in a journal, and don’t consume more than the daily allowance. Choosing vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and low-fat proteins will help keep calories in check, and help control weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other potentially life threatening conditions.
Note: In addition to calories, know the difference between good fat (omega-3s) and bad fat (saturated fat) to help reduce overall body weight, and protect the cardiovascular system. To find out more, use the American Heart Association Fats Translator to break down calorie needs, intended range for total fat, and daily limits for saturated and trans-fat.
Exercise: Just 30 minutes a day most days of the week can help employees maintain a healthy BMI; 60 minutes for shedding pounds. If finding time for exercise is an issue, encourage 10-minute breaks for a brisk walk or taking the stairs three times a day. For another motivational tool, encourage employees to write down how much time is spent in front of a computer or in a desk chair. Odds are, they may not realize how much time is spent sitting, which can be a wake-up call to move more throughout the day.
Here are a few healthier lifestyle choices to encourage around the office:
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