Healthier Workplaces

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 Environmental interventions keep employees from gaining weight

Companies with healthy employees have a more productive work force that avoids downtime for sickness. And in an era of skyrocketing health costs, one simple way to improve health is to keep from gaining weight.

Low-cost interventions helped employees avoid weight gain was discovered by researchers from University of Georgia and Emory University. They examined changes made at several Dow Chemical Co. worksites, things like encouraging workers to take the stairs and making healthy options available in vending machine.

Combining the environmental design changes with voluntary, individual weight-management programs didn’t gain weight loss, based on Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. In all groups, about 13.5 percent of workers reduced their weight by 5 percent or more.

It can be concluded that simple worksite environmental modifications may help with weight maintenance, but they likely won’t cause substantial weight reductions even when combined with low-intensity individual interventions. More study is needed to determine whether more comprehensive worksite programs can promote weight loss successfully.