Obesity is on the rise, which is not news. What is news is how bad the trend is getting, with two in three adults in the United States categorized as either obese or overweight, and one in five U.S. children suffering from the same condition. The answer is as complex as the problem, but a part of the answer can be found in recent PPACA regulations, where employers are encouraged to add wellness programs for their employees.

The health care reform law is complex, but brokers can help. Our role in wellness includes every step of the process, from finding a vendor partner to helping implement a wellness program that focuses on the needs of the employer. Brokers are there to help plan, implement and monitor the success of the program.

The chain of events is simple. The cost of health insurance is expensive because health care is expensive, and health care is expensive because we tend to get sick a lot when we are not engaged in our health care. However, if we as brokers are able to assist our clients with establishing programs that will improve the health of their employees and the families on their plans, we can get the cost trends under control.

Where to start?  Doctors can be very influential in the process of losing weight or obesity prevention, and an office visit with a primary care physician is a good beginning point. Your doctor can encourage you, counsel you about strategies and recommend medicinal aids if applicable for your situation. It is important to have a relationship with a primary care physician so they can act as your quarterback and coordinate your care.

Regular physical activity can help with weight loss when combined with lowering your calorie intake. Think about the impact you can have on your personal health and your families’ personal health by bringing healthier choices into your home. A healthier you will have more energy, energy that can provide a more engaged, fulfilling life. 

The cost of obesity in the United States per year is 9.1% of total medical spending in this country. Preventable diseases make up 70% of all illnesses in the United States, and this greatly impacts the cost of health care.

The good news? Employees generally want to improve their health, and employers are working with their benefit advisors and brokers to offer programs at the workplace to assist employees with those efforts. 

Rider is a senior account manager at Gregory & Appel Insurance and media chair for the  Indianapolis Association of Health Underwriters. Reach her at SRider@gregoryappel.com.



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