Obesity now affects around one in every four adults and is one of the biggest health issues in the UK today. By 2050, it’s being predicted that obesity will cost the NHS £9.7billion.

As an employer, one in four of your employees could be struggling with managing their weight.

Not to mention, obesity can lead to even more health problems – including type 2 diabetes, some cancers, heart disease and even stroke.

Obesity can also hugely impact on an employee’s quality of life – affecting their physical health, mental health and their sleep.

For employers, this can mean increased sickness absence, reduced productivity and could lead to cases of presenteeism. It’s not a pretty picture for anyone involved.

Here are some practical ways that you can support your employees’ physical wellbeing:

Encourage more physical activity in the workplace – walking meetings, standing phone calls, lunchtime walking groups or after-work fitness classes

  1. Promote a cycle to work scheme
  2. Look into benefits that give employees discounted gym memberships
  3. Provide healthier meal options at work and consider offering free fruit
  4. Educate employees – dedicated wellbeing programmes help get employees involved and on-board with physical wellbeing activities
  5. If you’ve got a vending machine, swap fatty, sugary fizzy drinks and snacks for healthier alternatives
  6. ‘Emotional eating’ can be a response to poor mental health issues like stress – mental health support could help to tackle this
  7. Provide employees with a health check so they have a better understanding of their overall health
  8. See if any employees would be interested in becoming ‘wellbeing champions’ – getting people involved in activities
  9. Set up an email reminder to take a break and a walk, or do some exercise
  10. Hold on-site fitness classes or activities
  11. Make it a competition – employees are more likely to get involved in challenges, like a company-wide step challenge

Encouraging your employees to make small dietary and lifestyle changes will bring the best long-term gains. It’ll be better for your business, but ultimately your employees will benefit the most.

When considering talking to employees about topics such as obesity, it can be an uncomfortable conversation, but a ‘wellness strategy’can form part of employees’ everyday working life.

This article was provided by Via Vita.