Insights into the Role of Employers Supporting Obesity Management in People with Obesity: Results of the National ACTION Study

Popul Health Manag. 2019 Aug;22(4):308-314. doi: 10.1089/pop.2018.0133. Epub 2018 Oct 31.


Lack of both awareness and application of evidence-based principles for obesity care for people with obesity (PwO) limit employers' role in supporting effective obesity management among employees with obesity (EwO). The aim of the ACTION (Awareness, Care, and Treatment In Obesity maNagement) study was to explore the current state of employer wellness programs related to obesity management, evaluate the impact of obesity in the workplace, assess attitudes regarding the role of employers in managing obesity, and identify challenges in implementing workplace wellness programs as perceived by employer representatives (ERs) and EwO. An online survey was conducted among ERs and adult PwO (BMI ≥30 by self-reported height and weight) using a cross-sectional, US-based stratified sample design. There were 153 ER respondents and 3008 adult PwO respondents; 1478 PwO were employed full-time, part-time, or were self-employed. ERs recognize the seriousness of obesity and its negative impact on work productivity; however, wellness programs tend to fall short of addressing specific needs of EwO, evidenced by low participation and success rates reported by EwO. This study highlights the need for programs that address the complexities of obesity and the specific needs of EwO, which currently are inadequately addressed according to EwO.

Trial registration: NCT03223493.

Keywords: attitudes toward obesity; employees with obesity; obesity management; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Obesity Management*
  • Occupational Health
  • Occupational Health Services*
  • United States

Associated data