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Why Your Employer Will Be Increasingly Interested In Your Diet And Exercise Habits

The idea that employers are paying more attention to their health of their employees isn’t necessarily breaking news.

With the future of health care uncertain, the one common denominator executives can point to is the ever increasing trend of a healthier work force equaling a better bottom line.

We’ve already started to see more and more cases of employer incentives to encourage healthy behavior in the workplace. While we should expect to see this continue, one thing is for sure…employers won’t continue to “eat” all the expenses of health care costs.

Quite simply many small to medium size business can’t make the numbers work with skyrocketing health care costs. But if you look closely there’s more clues outside of health care costs that can provide us with insight on what’s coming.

More after the jump…

What does a healthier work force mean to many companies other than lower health care costs?

Yep, you guessed it…better productivity. And yes since that also directly impacts the bottom line you can expect employers to be paying attention.

While it shouldn’t come as a surprise that an unhealthy worker is likely to also be a less productive worker, the correlation is shockingly high as indicated in new research.

A new research study published in Population Health Management that was conducted by Brigham Young University, showed that employees with unhealthy diets were 66% more likely to report productivity loss compared to healthy eaters.

Likewise, employees who rarely exercised were 50% more likely to report lower levels of productivity compared to active co-workers.

Also of interesting note from the study:

Employees between the ages of 30 and 40 were most likely to suffer productivity loss, and employees 60 and older were least likely.

Humm? So much for the argument that productivity decreases with age. The older workers are out performing the younger generation. This is a scary thought if you really digest it for a minute.

What’s that mean for the future of the country, where are we headed? I think this is way deeper than exercise and diet habits of the baby boomers compared to younger generations.

While not necessarily measurable or quantifiable, I’d say most people have a “feel” for what’s going on. Society has changed, culture has changed, and so with it the family unit and what some will call “old school” ideals of hard work, personal responsibility, accountability, etc.

Let’s face it the younger generations as a whole are more likely to be burning daylight at work, mindlessly surfing through Facebook, than actually getting something productive done. Not all of course, but in general.

Not to get into a deeper discussion with all of this here and now, this is what I’d say about the latest research.

Employers are paying attention, don’t think for a second they’re not.

We can sit here and complain about the outrageous profit margins of big mega-corporations all day long and miss the bigger picture. Yeah, I think the game is whack when hard working folks have to pay huge chunks of their income out in taxes when corporations with billions in profits pay no income tax.

I’d say the folks all pretty much agree on this and I’m all for change, but let’s not take our eye off the ball.

What makes this country really go, what’s the back bone per say, isn’t the mega corporations which are all global anyways, it’s the small manufacturing plant, the local contractor, the entrepreneur who builds something from scratch, etc.

Now more than EVER, due to being regulated and squeezed from all angles, it’s a challenging proposition for the risk takers at the front line to grow and expand operations.

Doesn’t matter which side of politics you fall on this is real and it’s happening. Blame who you want, but you can’t deny that job growth is being crippled by something.

My point in all of this is you can EXPECT to see a higher and higher priority being placed on health and wellness at the point of hire with new employees.

No question in my mind, it’s not whether or not we’ll see it, but to what degree.

Whether you’re looking for work or currently have employment it’s going to PAY to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Likewise if you don’t, it’s going to COST you in some way. May even be the difference maker between getting the job or not, or being expendable during cuts.

Productivity is too important with a tough economy and increased competition. Health care costs too much of a looming problem to the bottom line. Gone are the days when it didn’t matter what you did outside of work.

Whether you think it’s fair or not, trust me we’re going to see significant changes in how employers use information about your health and wellness.

I’m an eternal optimist so I believe there’s some positives tucked in the middle of all this. There’s likely to be a resurgence in the ideals of personal responsibility and accountability for starters.

When the time comes when people can’t ignore personal responsibility for their own health (because someone else isn’t picking up the entire tab anymore), we’ll start to see attitudes change.

Sooner or later it has to happen. No company, no government can carry the burden indefinitely.

At sixty some percent of adults in this country being overweight or obese, we ALL lose. It’s a community, state, and national problem that impacts everyone.

The effects on productivity, health care costs, national security, and the list goes on are all directly impacted by our overall level health and wellness.

Not a lot of people are talking about this (it’s easier and more convenient to blame politicians), but the truth is our actions do play a role in the end outcome.

Don’t get me wrong, government will always have a hand in what society is like and how people are living (directly or indirectly), but let’s not lose sight of our own collective power and influence.

The issue at stake is the impact our nation’s health and wellness has on our quality of life and that of future generations.

Anyone who’s over the age of 35 can attest to seeing significant change in their lifetime already. Not necessarily personally with their health and wellness, I’m talking about seeing a change in the way we live, the quality of life in general of society.

As a fitness coach and teacher at heart I’ll never stop preaching the gospel of health of wellness. Not to try and win over converts for workout fanatics, but rather to help inspire and encourage others to live life to its fullest.

To be happy…to be FREE from pain, sickness, stress, depression, and sapped of energy that comes from diminished health and a diminished quality of life.

It’s never too late to make a change. Encourage those around you to join you for a walk, invite them over for dinner and surprise them with how good healthy food can taste. Look for little things to do and most importantly lead by example.

Don’t encourage and support the person who always brings donuts to work, seemingly as a gesture of generosity, when it’s probably a guise to justify and cover their own unhealthy eating habits.

As they say, misery loves company…but you know what, those who are fit, healthy, and full of energy love company as well. They just want their company to be happy and not miserable.

We’re not helping anyone by providing them with junk food. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about friends, co-workers, your spouse, children, you name it.

There’s a lot at stake here. I hope and pray as a people and a nation we turn this ship around and start looking at the problems with our collective health and wellness differently.

What say you?

Shane Doll is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Fitness Training Studios. If you’re looking for a personal trainer in Charleston, you can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation without risking a dime. Over 1000 Charleston area residents have transformed their bodies following our unique burst training workouts and simplified nutrition programs. Experience the Shaping Concepts difference today.

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Category: Shane's Commentary.