Back about six years ago when I had a real job, I remember having many problems with employees who smoked. Not only were they traditionally the least productive of all employees but their habit(s) were filthy dirty. Not just the smoking part but leaving their trash all over and not washing their hands before going back to work.
As a General Manager for a large food service Management Company I pleaded with our HR folks to give us some tools to use to curb the problem. DEAF EARS. I made the argument then that the health care costs of smokers alone were enough to act-but NOOOO.
Throw in overweight employees who are almost as high on the non productivity level and present even more risks in terms of health care costs and you have the makings of a group of employees who because of their habits/lifestyle present a cost burden for health care that was skyrocketing. Something had to give!
There is so much pressure on corporate America to produce for the stockholders that a cost that is out of control largely due to lifestyle choices of employees seemed like a target that sooner or later had to zeroed in on. The time, it seems, is upon us.
Insurance companies have asked prospective policy holders these screening questions for years about smoking, blood pressure, diabetes, weight et.al. to determine a level of risk. Now employers are beginning to scrutinize the lifestyle habits of their employees — even those that happen outside of business hours.
Risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, body mass, bad cholesterol levels all associated with Diabetes and indirectly with weight issues may determine if you get a job.
Type 2 Diabetes is largely a lifestyle disease. It affects nearly 20 million Americans and 240 million worldwide and is spreading at epidemic proportions. It can be avoided by some simple changes to your lifestyle: exercise, lose weight, eat healthy does the trick.
Employers have to start somewhere and that start is with the hiring of new employees. Some employers like the Cleveland Clinic have already started. Other companies are going to fine employees for their bad lifestyle behaviors.
Most experts believe, however, that as health care costs continue to rise, employers will continue to enact penalties for unhealthy behaviors.
The battle has started. The Lifestyle Police are accepting applications. If you smoke or are overweight you need not apply.
Jack Krohn has had Diabetes, Pre-diabetes and Syndrome X for nearly fifteen years. He speaks from the experiences he has had during that time. He is also a free lance writer-the #1 author of Home Security Articles in the country.