A weighty issue
Having posted a bit of a diatribe (make that two diatribes – is that a gaggle?) at http://www.punkrockhr.com/ about obesity, I checked with my conscience.
She told me I didn’t understand all the issues. So I tried to explain.
She told me to blog about it. And as I always listen to my conscience………
My beef is this: obesity is a societal issue.
The way we structure and organise our society has led to the issues with increasing obesity. The way that people explain this away is dangerous. Sure it might make you feel better as an individual to say that you have a “genetic predisposition”. But the statistical probability of that is slim (no pun intended).
The chances are that it is a lifestyle problem. Most obesity is caused by taking more in than you expend. That is the long hard truth of the matter.
And worse. By taking the “genetic predisposition” line we also risk giving the green light to children that there is an answer and that it’s ok to be overweight. We are not focussing on the real problems, the real issues.
Fast and unhealthy food is too cheap.
We have lost our cooking skills and the ability to make nutritious affordable meals.
Organised exercise is inaccessible or prohibitively expensive.
Nutritional information is poor and inconsistent.
These are societal issues. And this is where I come in as an HR professional. My organisation is part of society. We are a living and working organism. And we have employees. People who come to work every day for us. People who make us who we are. People who we care about.
I believe we have a role in providing information and opportunities for our people. We provide free healthcare for all. Information on and ways in which people can assess their health and wellbeing confidentially. Biannual confidential medicals. Subsidised Gym membership. Plus a canteen that provides subsidised nutritious and balanced meals.
None of these are forced on people. We don’t make people stay and eat – they can go across the road and buy what the hell they want. We don’t make them join the gym or go to the Doctors. We create an environment which is conducive to healthy living and where it is ok to tackle issues of wellbeing.
Being obese has long term health complications. Sure you may argue that an obese person is as “healthy” as a slim person. But then there are examples of professional sportspeople who smoke. But we wouldn’t argue that a smoker was “healthy”?
These long term health issues will result in medical and societal problems in time and in turn, unless we act, these will impact on my organisation.
This is not Big Brother. This is a ticking time bomb.