tools & resources

Childhood Obesity: It's Everyone's Business

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Introduction

Travel bans. Salary freezes and staff reductions. Increased workloads. This is what the workplace looks like today. We're not in economic recovery yet and, at most corporations, this is a time for sticking to basics — not necessarily the time to venture into new areas of wellness programming.

On the other hand, it's no time to retrench on healthy lifestyle initiatives or give up the ground many corporate programs have already gained in the battle for healthier employees and families. Future cost trends will be driven by employee and dependent risk profiles.

In particular, employers cannot afford to ignore the epidemic of childhood obesity and overweight. Today, nearly one third of children are overweight or obese. Two thirds of children and teens do not meet daily exercise guidelines, and 10% do not participate in any physical activity at all. Additionally, 80% fail to meet daily fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines.

Why should this matter to employers? An obese teenager has a 70% chance of becoming an obese adult. And with obesity-associated health care costs for employers currently running to at least $45 billion annually, the price tag of this childhood epidemic could become unaffordable if changes are not made.

This toolkit, Childhood Obesity: It's Everyone's Business, was prepared in response to these trends, as well as the following:

  • Increased employer interest in the problem of childhood obesity and its implications for the workforce;
  • More employer activities and programming for children that can serve as models; and
  • Recognition that many employers already have infrastructure and resources that can help address childhood obesity so that little new time or money may be needed to have an impact.

The action-oriented sections of the Toolkit are built around four key levers available to most or all employers — benefits, employee education, on-site facilities and philanthropic opportunities. Throughout the toolkit, employer case studies and examples illustrate how strategies in place may be modified, expanded or marketed to promote healthy weight for children. The goal is to provide employers with a range of options that can be implemented relatively easily in their own company.

Download Entire Toolkit (70 pages)

Toolkit Components

 

This toolkit has been developed with funding from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

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