Health & beauty

Companies Are Paying Workers To Lose Weight

Some employers are offering rewards for getting healthy

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Every company is looking to save money -- and some companies are using weight loss and healthy living incentives to do it. Here's the basic idea: Illness and medical problems cost companies in sick days and insurance premiums. Getting employees healthy is good for business and the bottom line.

So now more companies than ever are trying to incentivize getting healthy, offering stuff like gift cards and insurance discounts to employees that lose weight, quit smoking or get their blood pressure down.

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While it sounds like it can only be good for workers and for companies, some unions feel that the program unfairly benefits certain employees while making participation nearly impossible for others. What happens, for instance, when someone has a pre-existing condition that makes it impossible for them to drop the pounds? Should they be, in effect, punished by these programs? "They could be marathon runners -- never smoke, never drink -- and they still can't fit into the mold," argues licensed practical nurse Bridget Lundquist.

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The move toward these programs is slow -- companies don't want to be accused of making value judgments on employees' health. What do you think of these kind of initiatives? Are they helpful, or do they unfairly target some workers? [Source]

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