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job
obesity epidemic
excess body weight
health care costs
sick days
chronic conditions
weight gain
calories
hallway
farming
Is Your Job Making You Fat And Will That Eventually Lead To The Loss Of Your Job?
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Is Your Job Making You Fat And Will That Eventually Lead to the Loss Of Your Job?

A recent study has shown that the workers of today are not only larger on average than the workers of the 1960’s, but they also burn an average of around 150 calories less each day as well. That study shows that men are burning around 142 calories less, while women are burning 124 calories less per day than they previously did. That same research also showed that there are far less active jobs left, even in the farming and manufacturing industries, largely because of mechanization that is considered standard these days.

One third of all adults in the United States are considered obese while only 13% were obese in the ‘60’s.

The researchers make it clear that our inactivity at work is not the only cause for the explosion of obesity in the past few decades, but it certainly does explain some of the rampant weight gain. People don’t get up and move around as much these days, even when they are at work. Instead of taking something down the hallway, we email it. People sit in a chair in front of a computer or talking on the telephone with no movement until it is time to get lunch.

The cost of the obesity epidemic is prompting discussion among US companies for how to curtail some of their health care spending, especially those dollars directly spent due to weight related conditions. Currently, $56 billion of US health care costs can be directly attributed to excess body weight. The more weight involved, the more health care costs. In addition to skyrocketing health care costs, employers with overweight and obese employees have to deal with the potential for more sick days and lengthier time away from the job due to illness than with a normal weight person. Not only are obese people at higher risk for serious, chronic conditions, studies have linked obesity with longer hospital stays and increased risk for complications.

In 2008, Japan, a country that does not have nearly the same obesity rate as the US, passed a law that required all companies as well as government agencies to monitor the weights and waist sizes of their employees. If those employees did not meet the new guidelines, the company would have to pay more into the national health care system. In the US, there have been a number of suggestions that companies might be looking toward doing something similar. However, there is likely to be widespread debate and opposition to this proposal. An Ohio company is facing a lawsuit from an employee that was fired for smoking while off the job. That company’s strict, anti-smoking policy does not even allow smoking in the employee’s own home. The former employee has said that the policy violated his rights. The law suit is still pending.

Obesity is causing as many health problems as smoking ever did, however, the very thought of firing someone because of weight is not going to be greeted with open arms.


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