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Why overweight office staff could be costing the economy billions…and how firms can stop it

Weight loss aspirations are often top of the list when it comes to new year's resolutions

Studies reveal that only 10% of Brits will stick to their pound-shedding new year resolutions, a disproportionate amount of the population still remains overweight.

This is particularly true for the nation’s office workers, with research indicating that a staggering 77% of administration workers are obese or overweight. Not only does this cause a huge strain to the NHS but it also affects the economy. Absences due to lifestyle factors are on the rise and allegedly costing the economy £8.2 billion per year. When overweight staff are in work, they have been proven to suffer from less energy, which may be detrimental to their work performance, morale in the office and overall output.

Some of the most obvious factors that contribute to the expanding waistline of the nation’s office workers are things such as being in a sedentary position all day and snacking on unhealthy food throughout a shift. Other risk factors include working in a place with no designated wellness plan and copying the unhealthy eating habits of workmates. Offices with vending machines and those that hold regular work parties or rituals, such as Friday takeout or birthday cake binges, can also pose a threat to health.

Sometimes social issues such as income and education can play a part in obesity. Time and time again social and economic studies have linked obesity with deprivation and a lack of knowledge about the benefits of good diet and regular exercise.

Whatever the reason behind the high levels of obesity, studies reflect that the number of overweight administration workers is 15% higher than the national average, and businesses need to start taking these statistics seriously if they want to save money. Management should encourage a healthy lifestyle both in and out of the office. Many firms provide workplace perks such as discounted gym membership or health plans. Others encourage staff to go for organised, lunchtime walks or promote healthy diets within the workplace.

Ultimately, having a healthy workforce won’t just benefit the company itself, but the overall economy. Healthy staff are fitter and less likely to take sick days and when they are in work, they will be more productive, focused and happier. In this scenario, everyone is a winner.

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  1. The imagery attached to this post is offensive to women on so many levels.

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