Economic and Community Development

Considering Obesity in Site Selection

Jessie Azrilian & Hannah Nequist on Friday, September 26, 2014 at 2:30:00 pm 
Obesity Prevalence

Site selectors have to consider a variety of important factors when searching for communities to house their companies. While workforce health is one of the least discussed factors in site selection, due to a combination of both legal issues and lack of awareness, rising obesity rates and the associated healthcare costs are now demanding the conversation.

Last week, Site Selection magazine released a story covering a newly published report by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).The study explores the rates of obesity among adults and children in this country. Findings indicate that six states saw an increase in obesity prevalence over the last year, and no states demonstrated improvement. Obesity rates are now at the highest ever in two states - reaching over 35% in both Mississippi and West Virginia. Twenty more states are above 30%, and there are no longer any states below 21%.

Obesity increases risk for type two diabetes, heart disease and a host of other health concerns. If obesity rates continue to rise, employers will feel the increased financial burden of insuring their growing workforce.

Studies highlighted in Site Selection show that engaging industry leaders can make a significant impact in reducing obesity while increasing their business’ bottom line. For example, corporate wellness programs show a consistent ROI in terms of reducing healthcare costs and increasing employee productivity. 

With scales climbing right alongside healthcare costs, the business community can no longer afford to ignore how the health of the current and future workforce impacts their ability to compete in a global economy. Companies selecting new areas to expand or relocate their operations are seeking healthy communities driving healthy economies.

Consider the following resources for more information:

ACCE's Workforce Wellness Communication Briefs

Site Selection magazine's "Waistline Watch"

"The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America"


Tags: Economic Impact, Obesity, States

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