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Obesity in the workplace: how to support your employees

By Lysandre Le Bel

When disease free does not mean healthy

Even if they are not sick, the people with weak physical health, who are overweight, who do not like their bodily image or those who have too much visceral fat are not healthy. Those people have increased chances to develop, sooner or later, important health issues.

Some risks:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gall-bladder disease
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorder
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Musculoskeletal troubles
  • Respiratory distress
  • Etc.

The Canadian Cancer Society considers that excess weight could soon become the second main cancer cause after smoking.


It is well known that doing physical activities on a regular basis, healthy food habits and tools for psychological/medical health are important in mitigating some risks linked to a poor health. When businesses want to help their employees staying healthy, it can be interesting for them to offer services like the access to a kinesiologist, nutrition specialists and psychologists in the work place.

One way to do it is to change the employment insurance plan to cover those services or to set up a specific reimbursement plan for the employees.

Healthy habits and prevention tools can allow an individual to maintain or improve his health. As an example, for an overweight employee who wants to make healthy changes to his lifestyle, it is estimated that lowering his weight from 5% to 10% could decrease most of the complications linked to obesity, like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, sleep disorder and musculoskeletal pains.


Weight problems or bad health conditions can be influenced by factors like the environment, genetics, physiological, psychological and socio-economics.

Fortunately, competent health professionals can guide their clients toward their goals of health and well-being. They can organize, with the help of the employer, obesity awareness campaigns in the workplace. They can also coordinate programs of health and well-being in businesses or plan physical activities and health and well-being sessions on the workplace.

Those professionals are available to anyone who wishes to improve or maintain their health situation:

  • The kinesiologists: Specialists of the human movement, they use physical activities to prevent, treat and increase performances.
  • Nutritionists: Nutrition experts, they can help you improve your food habits.
  • Psychologists: Specialists in behaviors, emotions and mental health.
  • Doctors: Health professionals that can make a diagnostic, treat and prevent health problems.

Reaching well-being goals

Professionals are guiding their clients/patients toward the achievement of their goals. They make sure, with their clients, that the objectives are ‘’SMART“ from the beginning to the end.

  • S : Specific
  • M : Measurable
  • A : Attainable
  • R : Realistic
  • T : Time-bound

Every small behavioral changes can result in multiple health, well-being and productivity benefits. Let’s not forget that a lot of resources are available to offer support and lower the impacts of obesity.

If you want to know more about obesity, weight management or to get resources and additional tools, contact us at 1-877-325-4472.

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