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Weight Management and Corporate Wellness – A Win/Win for Everyone



In our recent blog on job absenteeism, we found that nationally, it is estimated that obesity costs employers more than $73 billion annually in higher healthcare costs — and that is a conservative estimate. The statistics don’t end there. Obese employees incur more than double the amount in health care, workers compensation and short-term disability costs than normal weight employees. In fact, obesity and related diseases have driven much of the increase in healthcare costs for employers. Looking toward the future, companies are beginning to look to adding weight management to their corporate wellness packages to help them reign in healthcare and HR expenses before obesity takes them under.

There’s no question that worksite wellness programs make a difference in employee health and productivity. Findings from 56 studies on worksite wellness programs that were published in the American Journal of Health Promotion showed an average 27 percent reduction in sick leave absenteeism, 26 percent reduction in health care costs, and 32 percent reduction in workers’ compensation and disability management cost claims.

Because of obesity’s well-recognized connection with the most common comorbid chronic conditions, employers have already begun to wise up about the efficiency of encouraging employees to attain a healthy weight to improve their overall health. In fact, in a study on Obesity in the Workplace, 71 percent of employers and 92 percent of jumbo employers agree that “it is an appropriate role for an employer to include a range of obesity-related services and benefits for employees.”

Ultimately, studies are showing that employers are connecting the appropriateness of weight management programs with their concern about medical claims expenses, sickness and disability expenses, and lost productivity. As offerings for corporate wellness programs continue to grow and diversify, this could soon prove to be a great market for weight loss centers. Not only is it beneficial for weight loss centers to expand their market, but employers will see significant cost savings, and employees will enjoy a healthier weight and life as a result. Certainly sounds like a win/win for all involved!

Learn more today about how easy it is for Robard customers to get started in corporate wellness. For even more information on why weight management is important for corporate wellness, watch the video below:





Sources: Inc., Health Affairs


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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How I Treat Obese Patients in a Federally Qualified Health Care Clinic




Two of the most exciting parts being a physician working in a federally qualified health care clinic are providing medical care that I believe makes a difference and helps to put the patient in charge of their own health care, and helping my patients gain medical literacy. This includes discussing their weight.

Being overweight or obese is a gateway to an extensive variety of disease states across a multiplicity of organ systems. Obesity is a chronic, relapsing, multi-factorial, neurobehavioral disease, wherein an increase in body fat promotes adipose tissue dysfunction and abnormal fat mass physical forces, resulting in adverse metabolic, biomechanical, and psychosocial health consequences.
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To both prevent and treat this disease, the field of obesity medicine is an exciting and growing field that is marrying new and evolving sciences, cognitive behavioral therapies, and mind-body medicine modalities.

I have made it a personal policy to discuss weight with 100 percent of my patients. In my primary care setting, where we have limited time per patient visit and I am seeing patients with multiple and chronic illnesses, it is really a matter of time and practicality. With the few minutes I have with each patient, what is the one thing that I can do or say that will have the biggest impact on my patients’ reduction of morbidity and mortality?

Having a conversation about weight with the patient saves me time and involves the patient in taking charge of their health. Talking to a patient about their weight and their BMI are crucial components in helping them to “buy in” and become a key player on their own healthcare team.

For example, here’s a sample of patient BMI ranges that I observed over a two-day period: I saw 31 patients with BMIs ranging from a high of 67.5 to a low of 15.1 with ages ranging from 18 to 66. 21/31 had BMIs of 26 (approximately 66 percent) or greater. Most of these patients were insured through the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid or Medicare.

My typical office visit goes something like this: My Medical Assistant brings the patient back into the exam room where vital signs are taken. Height and weight are entered into the electronic medical record at each visit and the BMI is automatically calculated. The patients see their vitals signs displayed before their eyes. When I enter the room, I briefly explain to the patient what they are seeing on the screen. For many patients this is a learning opportunity as I explain BMI and what the ranges mean. The majority of patients are curious. They want to know where they fall, how close they are to normal, etc. I then take a few minutes to explain that losing as little as 5-10 percent of their baseline weight can lead to exponential improvements in their health and quality of life. This is especially motivating for my patients who are:

1) Suffering from multiple comorbidities such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and joint pain;
2) Tired of taking multiple medications and or being insulin dependent;
3) Tired of looking older than their chronological age;
4) Tired of being depressed;
5) Feeling like they are a victim and want to have a sense of something that they can do to contribute to their well-being.

I bring my patients back for more frequent office visits, generally every week to two weeks for an initial period of 12-16 weeks to provide the added support and accountability needed to support a patient on a weight loss journey. I have also familiarized myself with the current anti-obesity medications available and prescribe them for the appropriate patient, along with eating behavior modification and exercise prescriptions.

The other day a patient of mine returned for a weight check, delighted with another few pounds of weight loss. She exclaimed that her cardiologist stopped one of her anti-hypertensive medications, and she was smiling broadly — her dental hygienist told her earlier in the day that she looked like she was losing weight and looked good. She was near tears. She stated that her stress incontinence had improved so much that she was thinking about trying a beginner’s yoga class. This kind of success story has become an everyday part of my daily experience as a physician — and my own joy and satisfaction is priceless.



1."The Epidemiology and Determinants of Obesity in Developed and Developing Countries." http://econtent.hogrefe.com. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 14 Mar. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.


Blog written by Carol Penn, D.O.



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Another Approach to Reduce Job Absenteeism



With obesity recognized as a chronic disease, the cost of obesity on one’s health, longevity, and medical expenses with comorbid conditions is slowly becoming more widely recognized. Nationally, it is estimated that obesity costs employers more than $73 billion annually in higher healthcare costs.

However, obesity carries with it additional costs that are not always publically addressed — costs that affect the day-to-day of people’s lives, as well as their livelihood. One of the lesser recognized is absenteeism and its overall impact on productivity at work.

The total economic cost of obesity in the U.S. includes indirect costs, such as missed time from work, lost productivity at work, and premature death due to obesity-related health problems. Obesity can cause exhaustion, inability to focus, decreased confidence, and an increase in stress. Comorbid conditions caused by obesity can also result in unscheduled call outs and extended medical leave, leading to low morale, disciplinary action, and even the loss of one’s job.

While there are limited studies that have looked closely at this issue, one group of researchers at the University of Michigan Weight Management Program tackled this issue head on with a study they recently presented at Endocrine Society's 99th annual meeting in Orlando. The study revealed compelling evidence that participation in a weight management program can reduce job absenteeism.

The weight management program in the study utilized a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) and followed participants through a six-month time period. The participants lost an average of 41 pounds through the program. Before the program, participants reported that they worked, on average, 5.2 fewer hours per month than what their employers expected. After six months in the program, they described working 6.4 hours more than expected.

According to Jennifer Iyengar, M.D., the study's lead author and an endocrinology fellow at the University of Michigan, the findings “suggest that, through favorable effects on work attendance, participation in a weight management program may be mutually beneficial for workers and their employers.”

While more research needs to be done on what impact medical weight management programs can have on work productivity, the hidden cost of obesity is still fairly clear, and it takes a toll. Obese workers on average are absent one more week each year than other employees. While concern for health should of course be a prime focus, concern for the livelihoods of job security of obese individuals should also be taken into consideration.

With Robard Corporation’s evidence-based weight management programs and products, you can launch or enhance a current wellness program by providing your employees with an effective weight management solution that helps them achieve their health and lifestyle goals. Our time-tested, multidisciplinary programs can help alleviate unscheduled absenteeism, increase productivity and reduce employee turnover. Click here to get some free information today.

Sources: Science Daily


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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