HR & Management

Employers slammed by workers for directly contributing to obesity

3 min read

19 July 2016

Former deputy editor

Some 34 per cent of Britain’s workers are frustrated with employers and have pointed fingers at businesses for adding to the risk of obesity among employees, according to findings from Willis PMI Group.

In June, data found that almost half of Brits are on the market for a gym membership, which makes the present an ideal time for entrepreneurs and investors to open a fitness franchise.

Meanwhile, online workout guide business LDN Muscle has demonstrated just how lucrative the marketplace is, with revenues continuing to double annually. These developments point to the fact that people are becoming more self-aware when it comes to health and wellbeing.

With that in mind, a third of UK employees are less than impressed with the way employers are managing workplace health. Some 59 per cent of the dismayed workers said longer working hours are preventing the opportunity to exercise, while 48 per cent said businesses they work for lack both workout facilities and health programmes.

And while some businesses offer things such as free fruit as a perk, 44 per cent said they have to make do with an unhealthy vending machine, while 38 per cent said the food served in the canteen isn’t wholesome – all of which they believe is contributing to obesity.

“The government estimates obesity contributes to the loss of 16 million certified incapacity days each year and this research suggests employers may be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution,” said Mike Blake, director at Willis PMI Group.

He added that the study makes it clear businesses guilty of these practices should review workplace cultures and embrace wellbeing schemes where appropriate.

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The Willis PMI Group’s findings also revealed that younger workers were more critical of employers than older counterparts. 42 per cent of 18-34 year olds said bosses are responsible for adding to increased obesity levels, which fell to 29 per cent for 35 to 64 year olds.

“Support and education for employees to combat obesity can be relatively inexpensive to implement, but by encouraging staff to lead healthier lifestyles businesses can help cut obesity-related illnesses and the associated business risks,” Blake added.

Just 15 per cent of employers currently support reduced gym memberships, falling to 13 per cent for those that have on-site workout facilities. Falling further still, just ten per cent have fitness classes and only six per cent have weight loss programmes in place.

Here’s why women have slated Superdrug’s “ridiculous, sexist” fitness marketing effort.

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