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Managing Overweight & Obesity: Employee Benefit and Wellness Strategies

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Employers have long recognized the cost and health effects of obesity. However, few medical interventions — and limited options and guidance on employer-based strategies — have been available to help employers address this concern.

Fortunately, new standards of care are available and can help employers devise evidence-based benefit design. These standards of care suggest a stepwise approach to obesity management that can include intensive lifestyle interventions, pharmacotherapy or surgery (see table).

The stakes have never been higher. The most recent data shows that nearly 70% of American adults (69.2%) are either overweight or obese, with growing numbers in the higher BMI categories.1 It is estimated that 11% of adults will be severely obese (BMI≥) by 2030, and 15%-17% of U.S. healthcare spending will be obesity related.2,3

This toolkit provides employers an update on the evidence for treating overweight and obesity — both in the medical setting and through employer-sponsored programs. It highlights how health plans are incorporating the new recommendations for intensive, multi-component lifestyle interventions; the newest evidence on the ROI of bariatric surgery; an update on the availability and use of FDA-approved obesity medications; and recommendations for evaluating employer-sponsored weight management programs.

Download entire toolkit. (35 pages)

Toolkit Components






1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of obesity among adults: United States, 2011-2012.
2 Finkelstein EA, Khavjou OA, Thompson H, et al. Obesity and severe obesity forecasts through 2030. AJPM. 2012;42(6):563-570.
3 Wang Y, Beydoun MA, Liang L, Caballero B, Kumanyika SK. Will All Americans Become Overweight or Obese? Estimating the Progression and Cost of the US Obesity Epidemic. Obesity. 2008;16(10):2323-2330.

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