Third of UK workers place blame of higher obesity levels with employers

More than a third of UK workers claim their employers have contributed to higher levels of obesity, as study has found.

Surveying 1,197 workers, Willis PMI Group, part of Willis Towers Watson, found that 34% of workers believe employers have directly contributed to obesity levels in the UK.

59% said this was down to longer working hours, which prevents exercise. Almost half (48%) blamed a lack of exercise facilities and initiatives provided by employers. 44% put it down to unhealthy vending machines, ‘tuck shop’ snacks and 38% said unhealthy canteen food.

‘42% of 18 to 34-year-olds blamed their bosses for contributing to higher levels of obesity

obesity at work
Obesity at work – image courtesy of Shutterstock

 Of those surveyed 42% of 18 to 34-year-olds blamed their bosses for contributing to higher levels of obesity, compared to 29% of 35 to 64-year-olds.

Mike Blake, Director at Willis PMI Group, said: “The government estimates obesity contributes to the loss of 16 million certified incapacity days each year and this research suggests employers may be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.”

“The findings call for businesses to review their existing workplace cultures and practices and, where appropriate, proactively adopt health and wellbeing initiatives.”

According to the research only 15% of employers offer cut-price gym memberships, and 13% offer on-site gym facilities. Furthermore, only 10% offer fitness classes and just 6% offer dedicated weight-loss schemes.

Blake added: “Support and education for employees to combat obesity can be relatively inexpensive to implement, but by encouraging staff to lead healthier lifestyles businesses can help cut obesity-related illnesses and the associated business risks.”



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