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Five Things Businesses Could Do to Fight Obesity
By John Tozzi
From Bloomberg on Thursday, April 14, 2016
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2. Help employees meet their goals

Businesses have eagerly adopted wellness programs in recent years, using both carrots and sticks to prod workers into healthy behavior. Some companies are beginning to make these programs more “employee- and family-centric,” says LuAnn Heinen, vice president of workforce well-being, productivity, and human capital at the National Business Group on Health. That means focusing less on physical health risks and more on supporting employees' own goals—including dealing with stress, emotional and social problems, and financial insecurity. Heinen said these need to be addressed before employers can hope to see the health gains from wellness programs. “If you’re having trouble paying the bills, you’re not buying organic blueberries,” she said.

3. Make it easy for customers to eat well

Retailers put candy near cash registers so people buy it on impulse. Instead, they could remake stores with healthy choices in mind. Some grocery stores have already done this with such rating systems as Guiding Stars or NuVal. They evaluate foods on nutritional value and translate it into a simple rating that stores add to labels on the shelves to help shoppers quickly identify the most nourishing foods. “You’re in the store, looking at all the rows of spaghetti sauce,” said Heinen. “You can just cruise through and grab one off there.”

4. Consider the community

Employers seeking to improve health can extend their influence beyond their workforce and customer base. Companies that have health clinics, child care services, or fitness centers on site can open them to members of the community. Texas Instruments turns company fitness facilities into camps for children during school holidays, said Heinen. Employees' children get first priority, but others can join, too.