Tackling obesity at work

A new Government study says Britons are the most obese people in Europe. Surveying your workforce from the directors down, it strikes you that this is not the leanest of organisations

The extra weight might be causing sickness absence and reduced productivity. Time to join the battle of the bulge.Explain why size matters. Educate your employees about why bodyweight is important and why you're getting involved. Clive Pinder, MD of health and wellbeing company VieLife, says: 'Health is connected to people's energy, vitality and performance, and ultimately to their productivity.'

Volunteers, please. Start by finding out how many employees are overweight or obese - but it can't be compulsory, they must put themselves forward. 'You have to market all the elements of your health programme just as a junk-food or tobacco company would market their products,' says Pinder. 'You need to trust the people who work for you to make the right choices, and create the right environment to help them do it.'

Tailor the programme. Think about different strategies for different groups of workers, says Lisa Doherty of the Obesity Awareness and Solutions Trust. 'For example, shift workers might find it particularly difficult to exercise and eat healthily.'

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