Delaware Employers Face a Rising Obesity Rate*

apple, redDelaware has the 17th highest rate of adult obesity in the country, with more than one in four adults classified as obese, according to a new report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Employers bear many of the indirect costs of this obesity rate, including higher disability costs, more sick days, and increased workers’ compensation claims. The report indicated that Delaware’s obesity rate increased significantly in the past three years—a sign that current health and wellness policies aren’t cutting it.

So what can Delaware employers do? The study highlights three steps employers can take to promote healthier lifestyles:

· Provide workplace wellness programs and preventative care benefits

· Give employees a chance to take breaks for exercise during the work-day

· Offer coverage for wellness services such as nutrition counseling and weight management programs

Some companies have already rolled out in-house yoga classes, discounted gym memberships, and free massages for stress reduction. How those perks will weather the economic downturn is an open question. Other options? Employers can offer healthier food choices at company meetings and events, and improve selections at the office cafeteria.

F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009, was released on July 1, 2009.  For a list of other blogs covering wellness and work-life balance, see our blogroll, including the 50 Best Blogs on Wellness, Women’s Interests, and Work-Life Balance

*This guest post is by Summer Associate Christen Martosella. Christen will be entering her second year of law school at NYU in the Fall but, until then, she’s busy making a great impression at YCS&T.  Thanks, Christen!