Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Are you Fit to work?

Eisha Sarkar
Posted on Hello Wellness on Jan 4 2011 4:23PM
   
Being fat is not funny. You're the butt of all jokes. The medics describe you as "high-risk" and you have a tough time with insurance. You try to give up the chips, cheese and chocolates but when you fail, you go on a binge. And as if you’re not upset enough, now the fat's hurting your job prospects too!

Getting fat is expensive
Being overweight or obese can prove expensive to your employers. A Duke University study from 1997 to 2004 found that obese workers filed twice the number of workers' compensation claims, had seven times higher medical costs from those claims and had lost 13 times more days of work from work injury or work illness than non-obese workers. In terms of average lost days of work, the obese averaged 183.63 per 100 employees, compared with 14.19 per 100 employees for those in the recommended range. Generalise those findings in a country like the US, where 74.1 per cent of the adult population is obese or overweight, it means expenses in excess of $150 billion.

Belly fat brings in bias
While it is commonly believed that employers prefer to hire fitter, better-looking people, a 1998 study by Ohio University psychologists suggests it's the activity of the job and the obese person's perceived inability to perform it that deters employment. The study found that obese persons were more likely to be hired for sedentary jobs such as computer programmer, film editor or cheese blender than those at the other end of the activity scale, such as health club manager, industrial manager and landscape gardener.

Obese people are often associated with words like sloppy, dumb, slow, lazy and undisciplined. Even if these perceptions of you are not true, the unconscious bias of co-workers and employers can negatively affect your opportunities for promotions and career growth.

Obese employees are also paid less than normal-weight employees who do similar jobs, especially when they have employer-sponsored health insurance. Obese women on average make six per cent less and obese men make three per cent less than normal-weight employees.

Combating obesityObesity is emerging as the next big killer in India. Over 2.2 crore people in India are obese, of which many are morbidly obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 32.5 and are highly vulnerable to high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac problems, sleep apnea, high cholesterol and a host of other illnesses. The treatment for morbid obesity is surgery to reduce the stomach volume and/or bowel length. But if you’re overweight, you don’t have to go that far. Take care of your diet and exercise today for a healthier tomorrow. 

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