Strategies columns feature businesspeople in the Twin Cities sharing
advice for growing companies.
fiscal years coincide with the calendar year end. For most of
us, now is a time to take stock and carefully review these annual
reports. Did the company meet its projections? How healthy is
the balance sheet? Are revenues, margins and earnings on track?
These are all very important measurements of fiscal health for
corporate America and for all of us as employers, employees and
the only thing more important to us than our financial well-being
is our own physical health. Here is a report card on the state
of health and fitness levels in America at this point in 2004.
It does not present a very healthy picture:
> We are
the most overweight nation on earth. The CDC reported that our
biggest health threat and an important cause of soaring health
care costs is obesity - 31 percent of Americans are obese and
another 33 percent of us are overweight. The latest studies show
a steady increase in portion size, so the typical American is
eating more at one sitting than ever before. And a new report
by the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that
overweight and obesity-related illnesses alone now cost the country
$117 billion a year.
care premiums are sky-rocketing in double-digit rate increases,
and private employers and their employees account for approximately
60 percent of those expenditures. Weight is a factor in this equation,
and recent research shows that overweight and obese people incur
up to SI ,500 more in annual medical bills.The American Obesity
Association reports that the health risks for 30 separate medical
conditions increase significantly for overweight and obese individuals.
cost of health care and prescription drugs remains front and center
on the national agenda. Despite what weight loss and smoking-cessation
ads may promise, there is no quick miracle cure for the poor health
condition of so many Americans. What is certain is that promoting
the importance of proper health and fitness levels can have a
American Obesity Association reports the health risks
for 30 medical consitions increase significantly for overweight
and obese individuals.
proper fitness levels is becoming more recognized as a legitimate
way of affecting health care services and thereby reducing health
premium costs. The International Health, Racquet & Sports
Club Association is sponsoring
to make employer-sponsored membership dues to health clubs tax
deductible, and companies continue to add onsite physical activity
Corporate America is no idle bystander in regard to health and
fitness initiatives. From primary research commissioned in 2002,
we know that about half of the companies in America employing
at least 1,000 people at one location have an onsite fitness center.
And more companies are planning to add this benefit in the future.
Companies offer onsite centers for these reasons:
controlling health care costs
and retention of employees
a positive work environment
stress on workforce
a healthy and productive workforce
The same research
also substantiated the growth in employer-offered, we 11 ness-related
program offerings such as health screenings, tobacco cessation
and weight-management services.
The good news is whether your organization has an onsite center
or not, health-related program offerings are something that employers
of all sizes can offer to employees to make a difference in the
bottom line. A good place to start is with your medical provider
or your employee assistance provider.