Work, Exercise, & The Fat Gene

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I really hate talking about fat, but it’s out there. Everywhere. I can’t go two days without reading an article about the intersection of obesity and work. The HR Capitalist recently wrote about his support of employee wellness plans, and while I love the man behind the capitalism, I hate all forms of employer-sponsored wellness programs.

With deep investment and very little proof of a return on that investment, your company can ignore the scant science out there (…like the science that links obesity and lack of sleep…) and work you to death in the quest for higher productivity. Your company can’t afford to send you to the sales training seminar in Toronto, but they can afford to hire nutrition counselors and fitness experts to guilt you into shape.

Thanks. but. no. thanks.

Now we have word from MSNBC that there’s a fat gene out there that affects 30% of people with European ancestry — and you can either live Amishly (& build barns) or get 3-4 hours of moderate exercise each day to combat the variant gene’s impact on your body.

Let me ask you something: if your workforce is genetically predisposed to obesity, can you realistically fight the body’s genetic structure with Weight Watchers? Call me crazy, but a juice bar in the cafeteria and a chair massage seem like ineffective tools to combat rising health care costs in America.

Here are some Punk Rock HR ideas for slashing health care costs in Corporate America:

  • Why don’t we start by eliminating some basic inefficiencies in health care administration?
  • Why are all doctors forced to carry expensive insurance/liability premiums when fewer than 5% of doctors are actually involved in litigation?
  • Why are my medical records written on dead trees and stored in old file cabinets?

I will gladly do my part as an American and lose five pounds when my fellow citizens join me in demanding accountability from our government and our health insurance providers. I’m ready to pony up some cash and invest in a culture that pays people a fair & competitive wage, creates a healthy employer/employee relationship, and stops favoring businesses that profit from a decline in America’s health — like the restaurant industry and agribusiness.

Are you with me, yo?

((This rant was brought to you by The American Farm Bureau Federation, my fat ass, and a tube of raw cookie dough.))

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