The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity
Setting 5: Worksites
More than 100 million Americans spend the majority of their day at a worksite. While at work, employees are often aggregated within systems for communication, education, and peer support. Thus, worksites provide many opportunities to reinforce the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyle behaviors. Public health approaches in worksites should extend beyond health education and awareness to include worksite policies, the physical and social environments of worksites, and their links with the family and community setting.
- Inform employers of the direct and indirect costs of obesity.
- Communicate to employers the return-on-investment (ROI) data for worksite obesity prevention and treatment strategies.
- Change workflow patterns, including flexible work hours, to create opportunities for regular physical activity during the workday.
- Provide protected time for lunch, and ensure that healthy food options are available.
- Establish worksite exercise facilities or create incentives for employees to join local fitness centers.
- Create incentives for workers to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Encourage employers to require weight management and physical activity counseling as a member benefit in health insurance contracts.
- Create work environments that promote and support breastfeeding.
- Explore ways to create Federal worksite programs promoting healthy eating and physical activity that will set an example to the private sector.
Research and Evaluation
- Evaluate best practices in worksite overweight and obesity prevention and treatment efforts, and disseminate results of studies widely.
- Evaluate economic data examining worksite obesity prevention and treatment efforts.
- Conduct controlled worksite studies of the impact of overweight and obesity management programs on worker productivity and absenteeism.
Last revised: January 11, 2007