Florida Public Health Review


Amber Colston

Publication Date

June 2011


Obesity is a growing epidemic that affects more and more Americans every year. With the majority ofAmerican adults in the workforce, obesity plays a large part in healthcare costs, absenteeism, and “presenteeism.” Because ofthe large amount oftime adults spend in the workplace, using this setting as an intervention point for healthy lifestyle change could greatly reduce the prevalence of obesity. This paper will review factors that have contributed to the problem of obesity in the workplace, namely the factors at each ofthe five levels ofthe Social Ecology ofHealth Model. Then using leadership frameworks, such as that of Transformational Leadership, this paper will address how health educators can improve the situation of the prevalence of obesityintheworkforcebymotivating,inspiring,andempoweringemployeestotakecontroloftheirhealth. Induecourse, successfully utilizing this leadership style could bring about a culture change in the workforce where healthy behaviors are more prevalent. The result of this culture change is not only a better quality of life for employees, but for the employer it can reduce absenteeism, improve the productivity ofemployees and improve our country’s healthcare finances.