Many Americans are getting ready for pool season and fun in the sun. Unsurprisingly, we’ve seen an increase in the popularity of GLP-1 agonists for their effectiveness at weight loss.
Obesity rates continue to rise nationwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 40% of Americans are obese (BMI >30). An additional 31% of the population is overweight (BMI 25-29.9). This is a major public health concern as weight issues can lead to other chronic conditions like diabetes, musculoskeletal concerns, hypertension, and some forms of cancer.
Not only is obesity dangerous if left unmanaged, but it is also costly.
According to the National Institutes of Health, employers pay over $70 billion annually for obesity-related costs. It’s no surprise that the popularity of Type 2 diabetic drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro are hitting the media airwaves for their effectiveness toward weight loss.
The desire of over two-thirds of the American adult population to lose weight has employees pushing for their employer-sponsored health plan to cover the costs of these drugs. Ozempic (FDA-approved to treat diabetes) has also been FDA-approved for weight loss under the brand name, Wegovy. Mounjaro is currently approved for diabetes, yet its FDA approval for weight loss is still pending.
Employers recognize these medications are costly to the health plan if covered and require long-term use.
If an employer decides to cover these drugs (or not), the best long-term solution for weight loss and weight management is truly behavioral health modification.
So, what low-budget options can employers consider for promoting weight management and wellbeing in the workplace?
- Employees who seek weight loss should be encouraged to change the underlying causes of overweight and obesity issues that may stem from lifestyle factors.
- Employers can address their employee population’s health and weight management by promoting health and wellbeing at the workplace. There are low-budget (to no-budget) options in the marketplace. One low-budget option for employers is FREE phone applications that can support employee wellbeing and weight management.
In addition, EPIC encourages employers to develop strategic communications to promote a more well-rounded plan for weight management, chronic condition prevention, and risk reduction within their employee population.
- MyFitnessPal: this app is a FREE calorie tracking app in which members can create and use the free account or opt for the buy-up options. Through MyFitnessPal, members can track macronutrients, vitamins, and other micronutrients that may be important to any individual nutrition plan. Employees can sign up for free!
- FitOn: this app is a FREE fitness platform where members can create and use the free account or opt for the buy-up options. Those who sign up for FitOn can access equipment-free workouts that include cardio, yoga, and stretching. Employees can sign up for free!
Get in touch with our Health and Wellbeing team for more information on how EPIC can help your employees thrive. Let us help!
Director, Wellness & Health Management – Houston, TX