Obesity in the workplace: support your employees!

Even if they are not ill, individuals who are in poor physical condition ,overweight, dissatisfied with their body imageor who have a large proportion of visceral fat, that is, fat that is not very visible but is lodged between the organs of the abdomen, are in poor health. These people are at greater risk of developing several health problems sooner or later.

Some risks:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diseases of the gallbladder
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Some cancers
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Respiratory problems
  • Etc.

The Canadian Cancer Society has estimated that being overweight will soon become the second leading cause of cancer, after smoking.

The means of prevention

It is well known that regular physical activity, healthy eating and psychological and/or medical health tools are important factors in the prevention of risks related to poor health. To help employers keep their employees healthy, it is very interesting to offer the services of kinesiologists, nutritionists and psychologists directly in the workplace.

To do so, it may be beneficial to review the company’s insurance plan to cover professional services, or to set up a specific reimbursement program.

The healthy lifestyle habits and preventive tools used by an individual can really allow him to maintain or improve his health condition. Par exemple, chez une personne en surpoids qui effectue des changements sains au quotidien, on estime qu’une perte de poids de 5 à 10 % pourrait l’aider à diminuer les complications liées à l’obésité, telles que le diabète de type 2, les maladies cardiovasculaires, les troubles du sommeil et les douleurs articulaires.


Weight problems or poor health can be influenced by environmental, genetic, physiological, psychological and socio-economic factors.

Fortunately, competent health professionals are able to adequately guide their clients towards achieving their health and wellness goals. They can also organize, in collaboration with the employer, obesity awareness campaigns in the workplace. They may also oversee corporate health and wellness programs, or coordinate physical, health and wellness activities directly in the workplace.

These health professionals are available to individuals who wish to improve or maintain their health, despite difficulties:

  • Kinesiologist: A human movement specialist who uses physical and motor activity for prevention, treatment and performance.
  • The nutritionist: Expert in food and human nutrition.
  • The psychologist: Expert in behavior, emotions and mental health.
  • Physician: A professional who is involved in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of health problems.

Achieving wellness goals

Health professionals guide their clients/patients in achieving their goals. They ensure with their clients, that the objectives are “SMART” throughout the process.

  • S: Specific
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Achievable
  • R: Rewarding
  • T: Temporally defined

Thus, small behavioral changes can result in many benefits to health, well-being and job performance. Let’s not forget that there are many resources available to provide support and decrease the incidence of obesity.