Business of Well-being

A Healthy Lifestyle Begins at Work

A Healthy Lifestyle Begins at Work

A large portion of the day is spent at work. Whether employees are sitting behind a desk or out in the field, it is easy to become convenience-oriented and overeat or slack on exercise regimens. Of course everyone has tried all kinds of diets, but many times, it only takes a rough day at the office or a change in an employee's schedule to throw off new healthy eating and exercising habits.

Obesity and Disease

Eventually, neglecting your health can cause a wealth of consequences, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, cancer, stroke, libido issues, weight-bearing arthritis and asthma - just to name a few. The National Institutes of Health recently reported as weight increases to levels of "overweight" and "obesity," the risk of developing a disease also increases. To combat obesity, you should start at the beginning and ask ourselves the following questions:

Why do people overindulge?

  • Boredom - Many people eat because they are bored, and sometimes just for the sake of eating. The activity is a visceral sensory action that intensifies your senses.
  • Lack of Sleep - According to a recent Gallup poll, 3 in 10 Americans do not feel well-rested. A lack of sleep can actually cause metabolic changes that could lead to weight gain by affecting two appetite-controlling hormones: ghrelin and satiety-leptin.
  • Stress and Anxiety - Everyone needs a way to deal with stress and emotional tension. It can increase appetite and cause overeating by triggering high doses of hormones, such as cortisol.
  • Smoking Cessation - Many people feel the need to keep their hands and mouths busy when trying to give up smoking. You may find yourself eating to curb the smoking urges.
  • Culture and Society - Some cultures relate eating with family time or social events. How many parties have you been to where there is no food? The North American culture emphasizes snacks that are usually high in fat, sodium and provide little nutritional value.

How can you help your employees get healthy?

Companies can implement a few small initiatives, like healthy snacks in the vending machine or robust wellness programs that consist of health screenings and challenges. Whatever your budget, it is important to support your employees' pursuit of health. Through the execution of simple tactics, you can help offset the rising cost of healthcare and improve overall employee morale:

  • Encourage employees to eat breakfast. A nutritious breakfast can raise metabolism by 10 percent, curb unhealthy snacking and kick start the day by increasing energy to perform at your best.
  • Promote a healthy diet. A recent Gallup poll released that 6 out of 10 Americans are overweight or obese and are more likely to have chronic conditions. Make employees' convenience food healthy. Switch the high-salt, high-fat, high-sugar vending machine or cafeteria snacks and food for healthier, metabolism boosting options.
  • Empower physical activity. Overweight and physical inactivity account for 300,000 premature deaths annually. Many gyms will give companies a group discount for signing up employees. If you decide something on-site would be a better option, create challenges - teams walk 10,000 steps in per day or employees can win a prize for taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Partner with a wellness company for health screenings. If you aren't sure about taking the plunge for a robust wellness program, start with health screenings. The health check will provide information on employee cholesterol levels for full lipid panel and glucose, blood pressure, blood glucose levels and height, weight and body mass index (BMI) measurements.
  • Create a corporate wellness program. If you are ready to go all out, talk about implementing a corporate wellness program. For example, a company offered wellness program participants a chance to win tickets to the college football Big XII Championship game. The participation rates neared 93 percent. What motivates your employees.
  • Offer employees insurance coverage for gastric bypass, laparoscopic gastric band or sleeve gastrectomy surgery. While surgery is not for everyone, sometimes diet and exercise doesn't work. According to National Institute of Health in 1991, the risks of surgery are less than the risk of remaining obese. Many surgeons believe people with a BMI of 30 or more may be candidates for the surgery.

About the Author

Voted one of D Magazine's Top Bariatric Doctors three years in a row, Dr. Nick Nicholson specializes in multiple advanced bariatric procedures because he believes that each patient's unique needs require individual and customized treatment. Dr. Nicholson is board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery, is a member of the American College of Surgeons and is the medical director of weight loss surgery programs at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Baylor Plano and Forest Park Medical Center.  For additional information, please visit

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