Less is More

Apropos the subject of employers and overweight employees, a reader passed along a report that since 2002 Microsoft employees have lost more than 30 tons – 61,100 pounds actually, from 2,152 people, an average of 28.4 pounds each. The employees took advantage of Microsoft’s weight management benefit program, in which the company pays for 80% of “a comprehensive, clinical weight-loss program” up to a maximum of $6,000 per employee. Since offering the benefit in 2002 Microsoft claims it has realized a one-to-one return on the expense, from lower drug and health care costs. All employees who are obese or clinically overweight can take advantage of the benefit which includes personal training sessions, counseling, support groups, and medical supervision. The report cites Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s 50-pound weight loss in 2002 as an inspiration for the benefit, but does not say whether Ballmer’s famous “monkey dance” is part of the weight-loss regimen. (Thanks, WSHustler)

3 Replies to “Less is More”

  1. sp86

    I also agree that Microsoft is setting a good example. If more companies start encouraging their employees to stay in shape through company funded exercise programs and memberships, it will help greatly. With obesity affecting the a lot of the US, a little step by employers could help many Americans live longer and healthier lives. Employers might be reluctant to start spending money towards exercise programs, but it can be justified with reductions in their health insurance expenses.

  2. jmd1

    I think this article is very uplifting. Finally, a company is trying to effectively resolve the problem of obesity and help people overcome it rather than “taxing” them, which leads to outcries of discrimination and unhappy employees. Even though Microsoft has to put money in to fund the weight loss treatment, they will definitely save more money in the long run on health care costs due to the significant improvements in employees’ health. No one should be subject to unequal treatment if they are overweight – they should be given encouragement and a structured plan to help them succeed. This plan accomplishes what the tax was intended to do, keep health care costs at bay, but obviously does it in a positive, beneficial way. I hope other companies follow this example if they have not already implemented similar plans.

  3. m.alsunaid

    This article is very interesting , and whats good is that it seems like its good news for everyone. What about an employer , choosing not to hire someone because they are obese to save on medical expenses and to maintain a certain company image.. Should this be tolerated?

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