The Employer/Employee Exchange for Weight Loss

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Employers want fit employees. They want smoke-free, trim men and women who do not miss much time from the job and who do not ramp up insurance expenditures. Employers want fit employees because employers would stand to gain. On the other hand, so would employees.

    If ever there was a two-way street, it could very well be good health and the collateral effects of good health. Good health benefits all. The stumbling point then seems to be what an employer can offer to help employees attain such health. Gifts of gym passes and other freebees didn’t get the desired effect, and an approach in the offing that will punish employees who are smokers or overweight, or both, will probably succeed about as well as an approach that is geared for building a vegetarian shark.

    It is said that every problem has a solution. If so, what is the solution that results in a healthier, slimmer employee?

    $$$$$
    Money talks. There is something to be said for that bit of Wall Street, although I have heard it said in equal circles that those same dollars are the root of all evil. In this case money will be verbal.  

    When dollars are mixed with peer interaction in the work place the pounds come off. So states a new study published in the April 2013 Annals of Medicine

    The study shows that offering employees money based on a group success for weight loss may be the most effective workplace measure for weight reduction.
    Researchers placed 100 obese hospital employees into two groups. One group offered each person a dollar reward for each month they met weight loss goals and the other offered a dollar reward to the full group for each month weight-loss goals were realized. A control group was given information about weight control.

    At the end of six months, those who participated in a group capacity lost much more weight than both the individualized group and the control group. Those in the group effort lost an average of seven more pounds than those performing individually and ten more pounds on average than those in the control group.

    And How About This?
    A pilot program was announced on January 14 in which company health plans will make employees aware who among them may be eligible to access two obesity drugs through Aetna Health coverage. Interested employees who are given consent from a doctor can not only begin taking the medication but are also eligible to use Aetna’s lifestyle coaching to help manage diet and exercise. 

    The new medications, Belviq and Qsymia, were both approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012. Employees can get the medications at preferred rates with co-pays of  between 30 and 50 dollars, depending on what plan the employee has.

    The program is meant to provide employees with more options that will  hopefully promote weight loss and improve health.
    Should an employer recommend weight-loss drugs? Feel free to share your comments below.

    Living life well-fed,

    My Bariatric Life 

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    References:
    Bloomberg Businessweek
    CBS News 
     

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Published On: February 13, 2014