Weight Loss

Modern lifestyle has caused a surge in obesity throughout the world and, coupled with it, the intention for weight loss has also increased. Losing weight requires both willpower and dedication; however, even more important is knowing the right methods and lifestyle changes that must be adopted to achieve permanent changes

Employers should be invested in the health and wellbeing of their employees, as a healthy employee is more productive, has fewer health issues, and costs the company less in benefits. In this article, we will shed some light on what the science says about losing weight and its importance for employees.

Dieting Culture

  • An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year (BMC) 
  • Americans spend $33 billion each year on weightloss products (BMC) 
  • A higher percentage of women (56.4%) than men (41.7%) have tried to lose weight (CDC, 2018) 
  • Nearly half of adults (49.1%) attempted to lose weight within the last year (CDC, 2018) 
  • Obesity is more common among lower-income individuals, those with less education, and some ethnic/racial minorities (Wiley, 2009) 
  • 82% of respondents considered that weight loss was completely their own responsibility, while only 5% did not agree (Wiley, 2017) 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate the risk for weight gain especially among children (Wiley, 2020) 

Global need for weight loss

  • 40% of adults in the U.S. have obesity and another 32% are overweight (Eurekalert, 2020) 
  • Globally, more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight, out of which 650 million adults are obese (WHO, 2020) 
  • 28.5% of elderly adults aged 65 and older were obese in 2019 (United Health Foundation, 2019) 
  • The cost of obesity is estimated to reach 5%-to-14% of health expenditures for 2020-2050 (Frontiers in Nutrion, 2020) 
  • The annual medical cost of obesity is estimated to be $149.5 billion (PubMed, 2016) 
  • Out of all the OECD countries, Japan has the lowest rate of obesity (3.7%) which is considerably lower than the average of 19.5% (OECD, 2019) 
  • Colorado has the lowest rate of obesity (22.6%) among U.S. states, and West Virginia has the highest rate (38.1%) (United Health Foundation, 2018) 

Methods for weight loss

  • The most common weigh loss method is exercising (62.9%), along with eating less food (62.9%), and followed by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and salads (50.4%) (CDC, 2018) 
  • The average woman needs about 1,500 calories a day to lose weight, while the average man needs 2,000 calories (Healthline) 
  • Drinking more water, especially before meals, increases the metabolic rate by 30%, which is helpful with weight loss (PubMed, 2003) 
  • Cutting carbs is an effective weightloss method, as it reduces appetite (Wiley, 2008) 
  • High-protein diet reduces appetite and food cravings, increases the metabolic rate, and prevents weight regain (PubMed, 2005) 
  • Sugary soft drinks, fruit juices, chocolate milk and other beverages with added sugar should be avoided as they are linked to an increased risk in obesity (PubMed, 2011) 

Health Effects of Obesity

  • The biggest motivator for weight loss among obese Americans (77%) is to improve overall health (NORC, 2016) 
  • The rise of obesity in the United States may slow or reverse the trend of increasing life expectancy (Wiley, 2009) 
  • Obesity is linked to many diseases such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and many other serious health conditions (CDC, 2020) 
  • A modest weight loss of 5%-to-10% of a person’s body weight will produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar (CDC, 2020) 
  • People who lose weight gradually (about 1-to-2 pounds per week) are more successful in keeping it off (CDC, 2020) than those who lose drastic amounts

Strategies to encourage weight loss

  • Legislative interventions such as “junk food” tax, banning soft drink vending machines, improving nutritional labeling, regulating sodium consumption help the public be more conscious of their food consumption (CMAJ, 2011) 
  • Tax revenues may be used to provide more parks, playgrounds, make price reductions for healthier foods (Wiley, 2019) 
  • Medicalizing the obese diagnosis helps ensure continual insurance coverage for the severely obese (Frontiers in Nutrition, 2020) 
  • 78% of employees said that they would use their company gym if their employer had one (Treadmill Reviews) 
  • Companies that implement corporate wellness programs have healthier employees  
  • School-based initiatives such as, better food in canteens, improved sports facilitiesand learning proper nutrition can help lower obesity in childrenit has been shown that healthy-weight children perform 13% better and school (OECD, 2019) 
Statistic: Percentage of adults in the U.S. who wanted to lose weight for select reasons as of 2016, by obesity status | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Losing weight is a commitment that many make, yet most have trouble keeping. Gaining knowledge may be the best approach to losing weight. Having a fact-based approach and trusting the science behind it is a safe way to achieve weight loss.  Companies can help their employees with weight management programs.