From the National Business Coalition on Health: A new story in Benefits Pro describes the challenges employers face when employees are overweight or obese. Studies estimate compensating for obesity costs employers upward of $70 billion a year.
Possibly further upping those costs and complicating the issue is a decision this summer by the American Medical Association to classify obesity as a disease, elevating it from a condition.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has also considered obesity brought on by medical conditions, such as an underactive thyroid, to be an impairment under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC looks similarly at morbid obesity, which is defined as 100 percent more body weight over normal.
To help combat obesity and improve the overall health of their workers, more and more employers offer wellness programs as part of their health care plans and benefits programs. They typically view them as ways to contain health care costs and retain their workforce.