SOURCE: National Business Group on Health

National Business Group on Health

August 24, 2011 08:59 ET

National Business Group on Health Says Employers Can Play Critical Role in Battling Childhood Obesity

Employer Toolkit on Childhood Obesity Updated to Include Additional Case Studies

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Aug 24, 2011) - With the prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States nearly tripling over the past 30 years, the National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of large employers, believes now is the time for employers to take the lead in the battle against the growing problem of overweight and obese children.

Obesity is a growing epidemic affecting children, their families, and the nation. The United States currently has the highest percent of overweight youth in its history. Today, more than one-third of children in the United States are considered overweight or obese, leading to increased health risks, higher health care costs and decreased parental productivity at work.

"Child obesity is impacting employers today and will into the future as these children become the workforce of tomorrow," said Helen Darling, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, whose members include 329 large U.S. employers. "Parents have an enormous impact on the childhood obesity epidemic. A child under the age of 5 is at least 3 times more likely to become obese if one parent is obese. The chances skyrocket if both parents are obese. The good news is that employers can play a critical role in fighting the childhood obesity epidemic by helping families develop healthy lifestyles at work and in the home. In fact, a number of forward thinking companies are already leading the charge."

Indeed, a recent survey of 83 of the nation's largest companies conducted by the National Business Group on Health identifies the following programs employers have in place to help fight childhood obesity:

  • One third of employers (33%) offer online weight management tools to children
  • More than one in four employers (28%) offer telephonic or online coaching for weight management to children

Beyond promoting healthy lifestyles in the home, the Business Group says employers will soon face a growing demand for obesity treatment in children.

LuAnn Heinen, a vice president and director of the National Business Group on Health's Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-being, commented: "With the new guidelines for screening under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), many more children nationally will be identified as overweight or obese. Employers can provide tools and resources to support and empower employees and work with health plans and community resources to develop and promote new approaches to childhood obesity prevention and treatment."

Employer Toolkit Expanded
The National Business Group on Health also announced that it has updated its employer toolkit, "Childhood Obesity: It's Everyone's Business," to include examples of family-focused wellness programs that four forward-thinking companies are doing to fight childhood obesity. The toolkit also includes a new section on how employers can design their benefit programs to ensure that they are in accordance with new screening guidelines required by PPACA and support obesity treatment options for children.

The employer toolkit was developed and updated with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

The toolkit is available free of charge to the public and can be found at

About the National Business Group on Health
The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit, membership organization of large employers devoted exclusively to finding innovative and forward-thinking solutions to their most important health care and related benefits issues and to being the voice for large employers on national health care issues. The Business Group, whose 329 members include 66 of the Fortune 100, identifies, develops and shares best practices in health benefits, disability, health and productivity, related paid time off and work/life balance issues. Business Group members provide health coverage for more than 55 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information, visit

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