Employee Benefits

Great Health Shouldn’t Be a Fad

Wally Gomaa
Wally Gomaa
ACAP Health

I’m going to start right off the bat with some scary (but true) statistics:

American obesity rates have tripled since the 1960s and show no signs of slowing.

Without widespread behavior change, it’s predicted that by 2030 half of the U.S. population will be obese. That’s right — HALF! And with obesity, not only comes poorer health for Americans, but also higher healthcare costs.

Today, one in every two Americans is either pre-diabetic or living with diabetes. Let’s be clear — these numbers don’t reflect the state of American health 25 years from now or even 10 years from now, but rather, TODAY!

Employers Can Help Battle American Obesity

It’s an epidemic, and the federal government realizes that not dealing with it will cause a strain on the healthcare system that will be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. The issue is so important, the following has happened:

  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has recognized the need for coverage of obesity counseling.
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) required health plans to cover screening and obesity counseling as a covered medical benefit.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has — for the first time in history — allowed Medicare to begin covering obesity screening and counseling.

While it’s great that we now cover these items from a financial standpoint, covering them isn’t enough. Coverage removes barriers, but it doesn’t change behavior. The question for many employers is: “How can we change the behavior of employees in a way that delivers measurable and sustainable clinical results?”

For the last decade, Holmes Murphy has been helping employers reverse obesity through our clinical innovation laboratory, ACAP Health. And here’s what we’ve learned:

  • People feel like they’ve failed at diets. But the truth is, diets have failed them. There are so many fad diets out there that simply don’t work.
  • When it comes to people who’ve struggled with their weight, it’s not due to a lack of education or motivation. Ask anyone with weight struggles to recite the caloric content of a muffin and they’ll rattle off the data with the accuracy of a Google search. When it comes to the obesity epidemic, a lack of knowledge isn’t the issue. The research also shows those who have struggled with weight think about losing it every single day. Twelve years ago, I lost almost half my body weight and I can personally attest to the reality of these facts — it’s not lack of education or motivation.
  • The greatest motivation for a person with weight struggles isn’t waving carrot sticks into benefit plans, but the excitement of standing on a scale and winning.

Remember the stat I mentioned earlier — you know, the fact that one in two Americans is either pre-diabetic or living with diabetes? Our clients, who have course-corrected using our clinical solutions, have been able to lower health trends with a more than 50 percent reversal of metabolic syndrome. That’s an amazing statistic, and we’re proud of it.

We’d be happy to talk about how the same can work for your business and employees! Reach out to your Holmes Murphy representative to learn more about our clinical solutions and how they can transform the health of your employees and lower costs for your organization. Or, if you have questions now, ask them below. What are your concerns? What are your obstacles? Let’s talk!

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