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Greatest Economic Risk to Employers: Overweight Employees or Office Chairs?


Summary:  70% of American adults are overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health, leading to a rise in 58 obesity related diseases crippling the bottom line of American businesses including the nation’s top three killers: heart disease, stroke, and cancer. But is fat really to blame? A new study offers a different analysis, one that should motivate employers to get employees out of their chairs and focused on their steps rather than a weight scale.

58. That’s the number of obesity related diseases currently plaguing American employees, employers, health care institutions, economy, even our national security. The alarm bells have been ringing for decades yet Americans continue to grow fatter with 70% of the population now overweight and half of this population categorized as obese. Studies are showing that American’s self perceptions are changing as well to adapt to growing waistlines and not in a good way. Denial may be outpacing belt sizes but there is a silver lining according to new research. Fat does not necessarily equate to unfit and unhealthy. A focus on movement and fitness levels rather than measured Body Mass Indexes (BMI’s) might be a better health approach according to a new study from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health.

In a study of 14,345 adult males primarily comprised of middle/upper socio-economic class researchers discovered:

  • Maintaining or increasing fitness correlated with a lower risk of death even after controlling for changes in BMI.
  • Each unit of increased fitness over a six year period (measured as MET, metabolic equivalent or task) correlated to a 19% decreased risk of heart disease or stroke related deaths, 15% decreased risk of death from all causes.
  • Decreasing levels of fitness REGARDLESS of BMI change correlated to an increased risk of death.

"This is good news for people who are physically active but can't seem to lose weight," commented Duck-chul Lee, Ph.D., lead researcher of the study conducted by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health. "You can worry less about your weight as long as you continue to maintain or increase your fitness levels." Although the study was comprised entirely of male subjects researchers believe that women would likely generate similar results.

 Researchers went on to say that the study results reflect the critical risks of inactivity on death from chronic heart disease and stroke.

“America has to fight this obesity epidemic on a number of fronts however it is obvious in a nation that walks less than ½ the steps recommended daily just to maintain health that activity has taken a back seat to diet,” stated Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desks. “This study shows that the greatest near term health impact could be made in the area of increasing fitness and activity levels in the lives of Americans. Diets don’t work but walking does.”

Designed to fit any existing treadmill, TrekDesk treadmill desk is an affordable, full sized, height adjustable workstation that allows individuals the opportunity to gain the necessary amount of exercise daily to maintain health, prevent disease, strengthen muscles, boost mood and productivity, without requiring additional time during the day or extra motivation.

Join the TrekDesk “Movement Revolution” to learn more on TrekDesk’s Facebook page.



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