We’re all told that sitting is the new smoking but how much is really being done to tackle obesity in the workplace? Startling statistics from insurance company, UNUM, reveal that 64% of UK adults are now classed as overweight or obese. Yet while the majority of office workers remain seated for up to ten hours a day, less than a third of employers provide any opportunity to exercise. Should your boss be in charge of your waistline? Find out what office workers really think in this startling infographic.
Obesity in the workplace: what is the cost to the economy?
According to a report conducted by McKinsey and Company, the estimated cost of obesity to the UK economy is anticipated to be £47 billion in terms of healthcare and social costs. Alarmingly, this is a greater burden than armed violence, war and terrorism. Obesity is second only to smoking in terms of economic impact, generating an annual loss of 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Obesity in the workplace: an employee perspective
Just under half of women and over a third of men spend less than thirty minutes a day on their feet at work. Working through lunch breaks and not taking regular desk breaks clearly takes its toll on our health, contributing to £14 billion in sickness absence a year. 35% of office workers believe their employer has a moral responsibility to help them lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. A further 34% believe that their employer should run weight-loss schemes through workplace wellness programmes.
How employers view obesity in the workplace
58% of employers believe that an unhealthy workforce poses a risk to business performance and this is borne out by the fact that healthy workers cost their employers 56% less in lost productivity. Researchers have proven that employees who exercise regularly are mentally sharper, perform more effectively and manage their time better than those who don’t. But with less than a third of employers actively providing opportunities to exercise in their employee wellbeing programmes, the onus is still on the individual to be responsible for their own health.
How to stay healthy in the office
If this all sounds similar and you’re currently battling the bulge – don’t despair. There are many ways to keep healthy in the office: from taking a lunchtime run to sneaking in some exercise at your desk. Also, check out our tips on how to eat well at work with workplace nutritionist, Linda Munster.