C.D.C. web site helps employers combat obesity

by Bryan Salvage
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ATLANTA — LEANWorks!, a web site designed to help businesses address obesity, was recently unveiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. LEAN stands for Leading Employees to Activity and Nutrition.

"C.D.C. LEANWorks! was developed in direct response to organizations asking C.D.C. for help in addressing the obesity epidemic," said William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., director of C.D.C.’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. "Specifically, they wanted to know what interventions were effective in helping employees maintain a healthy weight. C.D.C. has identified science-based interventions that work to prevent and control obesity. C.D.C. LEANWorks! provides the tools that employers need to take action."

The web site features:

  • An obesity cost-calculator where employers can input employee demographic data to estimate the total costs associated with obesity and determine annual obesity-related medical costs for their companies.
  • Information and resources to help employers plan, build, promote and assess interventions to combat obesity.
  • Information on how employers can estimate return on investment, a measure of the cost of an intervention compared to the expected financial return of the intervention.

"Obesity affects more than just health care costs," said Janet Collins, Ph.D., director of C.D.C.’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. "It also has a significant impact on worker productivity because the more chronic diseases employees have, the more likely they are to be absent from work, or less productive if they come to work sick."

"Workplace obesity prevention programs can be an effective way for employers to reduce obesity and lower their health care costs, lower absenteeism and increase employee productivity," Dr. Dietz said.

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