$117 billion. That was the total estimated cost of obesity in the United States in 2000.3 Or, to put it more simply, that was the economic cost of the poor diet and sedentary lifestyles that many American's have adopted. To the employer, this correlates to lower productivity and higher health care costs. For the employee, it can mean chronic disease or even death.
As the prevalence of obesity worsens, many medical conditions are increasing in numbers and intensity, making them difficult to control, as well as treat. Some diseases and health conditions associated with overweight include:1
- High total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
Many of these medical conditions are also related to inactivity, which is why balancing a healthy diet with moderate physical activity is so important.
Consuming 100 more calories, a day than is burned through physical activity equates to a weight gain of one pound per month.2
Finding the balance between food and activity requires hard work and discipline. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, on most days of the week. This amount is necessary to help reduce an individual's risk of disease and to promote overall good health. Physical activity may need to be increased to 60 minutes a day in order to prevent weight gain.3
The workplace is an excellent environment to educate adults about nutrition and fitness, as many employees eat at least one meal a day at work. The workplace has numerous methods for formal communication and many now offer wellness programs. Creating a healthpromoting environment by offering such support as healthy food selections, nonsmoking policies, and fitness facilities are just some of the ways employers can guide their employees to better health.
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How many calories do adults need? Knowing your body's daily calorie needs can be an important first step in adopting a realistic diet and physical activity plan that can help you attain and maintain a healthy weight.
- * The Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) would like to thank The Hartford's Center for Ability for providing the content
- 1 National Institute of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults.
- 2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. Executive Summary. Accessed 2007 December 14.
- 3. Physical Activity and Good Nutrition. Essential Elements to Prevent Chronic Diseases and Obesity 2007.