UPFRONT Fat chance fixes

Obesity is becoming an increasingly weighty problem for the western world.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. One airline recently ignited the ire of its chubbier clientele by announcing plans to charge double for passengers whose girth could not be contained by one seat.
There are also suggestions that the cumulative excess of overweight passengers is becoming safety issue for smaller regional planes and may have contributed to recent crash.
And added fat is adding costs to business. Obesity is costing American companies around US$13 billion year in weightier worker medical insurance schemes. That, in turn, is prompting companies to get pro-active on the education front – introducing health and nutrition information into workplace wellbeing programmes.
And in Australia, where around seven million people are classified as either overweight or obese, employers are adopting nationwide programme that involves having their employees walk 10,000 steps day – using pedometer to keep track.
The programme, developed by Central Queensland University, is being rolled out in Queensland and the Northern Territories.
Obesity in Australia has become an epidemic and can’t be ignored, says one employer who has adopted the tough walking initiative. Employers can, he says, be part of the solution by increasing opportunities for workers to be physically active.
Hmmm – mobile keyboards perhaps – or even fast food that’s too quick to catch?

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