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In the past 30 years, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased sharply for both adults and children. The 2005 – 2006 NHANES survey shows that among adult men the prevalence of obesity was 33.3% and among adult women, the prevalence of obesity was 35.3%.15

Currently, two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight or obese.16 The effects of such a high obesity rate on the cost of health care to employers, independent of size, are widespread and can result in direct and indirect costs.17

Obesity and overweight also contribute to chronic conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and certain types of cancer.18 Well designed and properly deliveredobesity prevention programs that promote better nutrition and increased physical activity can reduce employee risk for additional conditions that drive up health care costs. Lifestyle changes that bring about 5% to 7% loss in body weight can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes for people at high risk for the disease.19

  • Regular physical activity helps control weight, as well as reducing risk for heart attack, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and high blood pressure.20
  • Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables helps reduce the risk for heart disease and certain cancers.21


photo of a man giving a presentationAdults spend considerable time at work, making worksites ideal locations for reaching this population. Worksites provide access to 65% of adults in settings where people consume one or more meals daily. In addition, many worksites are capable of supporting employees in their efforts to achieve adequate levels of physical activity.22

To help employers respond to the current obesity epidemic, CDC conducted a systematic review of the literature about worksite health promotion programs and identified promising practices to prevent and control obesity. CDC identified promising worksite practices in the field. These Community Guide Recommendations and promising practices established the foundation for the CDC's LEAN Works! Web site.

Additional Resources

A Purchaser's Guide to Clinical Preventive Services* (PDF-2Mb)
This source provides information for employers on clinical preventive service benefit design and guidance for the selection of clinical preventive services shown to be effective by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other authoritative organizations.

NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative (PDF-1.25Mb)
Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults.

Also in This Section

PDF Document Icon Please note: Some of these publications are available for download only as *.pdf files. These files require Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to be viewed. Please review the information on downloading and using Acrobat Reader software.

* Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.

L.E.A.N. Works, Leading Employees to Activity and Nutrition
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