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Experts Urge Businesses to 'Get Real' About Obesity Impact
Date:10/11/2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the growing obesity epidemic. Each year, employers spend more than 75 billion dollars on obesity-attributable health care(1). In addition, an estimated 39 million work days are lost to obesity-related illness each year(2). Other costs of obesity in the workplace include absenteeism, low productivity and high turnover rates.

Today, business leaders, healthcare industry professionals and policymakers will gather to discuss the burden of overweight and obesity on the nation's employers. Presented by the Reality Coalition, the meeting will be held at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC.

"More than 100 million American adults spend a majority of their day at work, making the worksite an ideal place to begin the process of tackling the obesity epidemic," said David Satcher, MD, 16th U.S. Surgeon General and the meeting's keynote speaker. "Weight management counseling, onsite exercise facilities and healthier food choices are just a few of the ways that companies of all sizes help their employees adopt healthier lifestyle behaviors."

Results from a new online survey of 500 members of the Synovate Global Opinion Panel (SGOP) who are overweight and work full-time outside of the home reinforce the need for employer-sponsored weight management programs. In fact, two out of three respondents to this survey report that they are interested in employer-sponsored weight control programs. But less than half (44 percent) of overweight employees have access to these types of programs.

"The Reality Coalition believes this meeting is an ideal forum to engage leaders within the corporate community to focus attention on the rising cost of obesity and its impact on the well-being of working Americans, labor productivity and financial performance," said Reality Coalition co-chair George L. Blackburn, MD, PhD. "People need to understand that
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SOURCE The Reality Coalition
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